Homeless man broke into shed to keep warm

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A HOMELESS man broke into an allotment to keep warm.

Jan Barron was caught after he left personal documents at a shed on the allotments in Southwick, Sunderland.

The 20-year-old pleaded guilty to burglary at Sunderland Magistrates’ Court and asked for a similar offence to be taken into consideration.

Prosecutor Paul Doney told magistrates that allotment owner William Mooney locked up his shed at Cornhill Allotments at 2pm on February 7.

When he returned the next day at 10am, he found it had been broken into.

Mr Doney said: “A window had been kicked through, causing damage. Propane gas had been used, along with tea bags and needles.

“About £80 of gas was used and £40 of damage caused.

“Police attended a similar burglary next door found paper work belonging to the defendant.

“He was arrested and made full admissions to the offence.”

In a statement read out to the court, Mr Mooney said: “I am angry that someone is doing this to my property and also worried that when people are coming into the cabin and using drugs they will set fire to my cabin.”

Defending Barron, Gerry Armstrong said he was homeless and looking for shelter.

“He used the gas to make a cup of tea,” he said. “And the packet of needles were already there.

“They belonged to the owner and Mr Barron accepts he had been messing about with them and blunted them.

“It was such a misthought out plan that he left all of his own personal accounts there, which is how the police caught him.

“He told the police about breaking into the shed, which they would have not known about.”

“It was an act of desperation,” he added.

Barron, who is now living at Centrepoint hostel in Dundas Street, was given a 12-month conditional discharge and ordered to pay compensation at £10 a fortnight.

Chairman of the bench Hilary Malick said: “It is very sad that you are here today, as you have kept out of trouble.

“The last time you were in court was 2008, now you do something like this.

“We take into consideration your mitigation that you were homeless, it was February, it would have been cold and it was an act of desperation.”

Twitter: @janethejourno