Burglar arrested after being spotted in Castleford town centre by victim days after break-in at family home
A burglar was caught after being spotted in a town centre by a man who confronted him days earlier during a break-in at a family home.
Career criminal Simon Collins was sent to prison for four years and three months over the burglary at St Marys Place, Castleford, on New Year's Day this year.
Leeds Crown Court heard Collins targeted the property at 9.30am as the homeowner was at home with her son and grandson.
Fiona Clancy, prosecuting, said the woman was recovering from an operation and was laid on the sofa in her living room.
She heard someone entering the property but assumed it was her son or grandson.
The prosecutor said: "The defendant popped his head through the door between the kitchen and living room and looked right at her."
The victim was frightened and shouted to alert her son that there was an intruder.
Ms Clancy said Collins appeared to be under the influence of drugs at the time of the incident.
The son chased Collins out of the property but the defendant managed to jump over a garden fence and get away.
The son returned to the house and realised that his wallet, which contained £100 in cash and an identity card, was missing.
Collins was recognised by the son days later when they were both at Career Cabin, on Bank Street, in Castleford town centre.
Police were contacted and Collins was arrested.
He denied carrying out the burglary and claimed to have an alibi, saying he was at his friend's home at an address on Smawthorne Lane.
Officers went to the house and spoke to the homeowner but there was no record of the man named by Collins ever living at the house.
Collins, 43, of Ridgefield Street, Castleford, pleaded guilty to burglary.
The court heard Collins has a criminal record dating back to 1996.
He has nine previous convictions for domestic burglary or attempted burglary.
Satpal Roth-Sharma, mitigating, said Collins had managed to stay out of trouble for a number of years before his latest offence.
She said he had been travelling in South America with his girlfriend and had also been a Heart Foundation charity shop volunteer.
Ms Roth-Sharma said her client committed the offence after returning to drinking and taking drugs.
Jailing Collins, Judge Tom Bayliss QC said: "You are not a man of good character.
"You are a persistent burglar.
"House burglars like you must understand that if they have a substantial record of domestic burglary and insist on burgling people's home they can expect extended sentences."