Jailed Sunderland grandad left student terrified after burglary

Anthony Prenelle
Anthony Prenelle

A grandad has been put behind bars for a raid at a student flat that left one of the occupants too frightened to live there.

Anthony Prenelle crept into the shared household in Chester Road, Sunderland, and stole property on August 4 last year.

Newcastle Crown Court

Newcastle Crown Court

The 57-year-old raider, who is a married dad and grandad, had been seen "hanging around" the premises and was picked out by witnesses, including two of the students, at an identity procedure after the break in.

Prenelle, of Lumley Street, Sunderland, pleaded guilty to burglary on the day his trial was due to start at Newcastle Crown Court.

The court heard one of the students, who attends university in the city, moved back in with her parents after the raid as she "doesn't feel safe at all" at the student accommodation, which she has to still pay for.

She now commutes to carry out her studies and has told police: "The burglary has ruined my university experience, through no fault of my own."

The student said on the few nights she stayed at the shared home after the raid, she has been petrified and "constantly worried someone was inside the house who should not be there".

Judge Robert Adams jailed Prenelle, who has over 30 previous convictions, including five for house burglaries, for two years and eight months.

Judge Adams told him: "One occupant has been so terrified by what happened that she has found it hard to stay there.

"On the occasions she has, she has been terrified and has stayed there for a few nights only.

"Not surprisingly, she has been made very concerned by this burglary, it was a student premises that she was paying for while she attended university. "

Charlton Carr, defending, said Prenelle lives with his wife and adult child and has family responsibilities.

Mr Carr added: "As far as the offence is concerned, it was an opportunistic offence with little or no planning involved."