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Saturday, 30 August 2014

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Man crept into Carlisle house to try and steal fare home

A man snuck into a house while a baby slept upstairs after getting so drunk he missed the last bus home.

Andrew Phillips met pals in Carlisle and downed eight or nine pints of lager after losing his job.

But he missed the last bus back to Longtown, where he lived, and ended up entering the house in Stanwix looking for money to get home, Carlisle Crown Court heard.

Phillips, of Westmorland Street, Carlisle, was jailed for two years and eight months after previously admitting burglary.

The court heard that Paul Ritzen, who lived in the house, chased Phillips and tackled him to the ground after catching him at around 10pm on April 4.

Phillips told him that he saw Mr Ritzen's wife and two-year-old son asleep upstairs so he left.

Mr Ritzen then took a bank card from Phillips, which was later used to identify him.

The court heard that Phillips, 38, had a history of several similar previous burglaries where he entered properties and quickly left after being confronted.

Mark Shepherd, defending, described Phillips as “someone who takes some time to accept full responsibility”.

“On that day he was working as a picture framer in Brampton quite happily when he was told he was going to be made redundant”, he added.

“This man has a huge self- destruct button when faced with something that causes financial insecurity.

“Rather than displaying the stiff upper lip he goes to pieces.”

Phillips previously went on a “burglary spree” after finding out his partner had been having an affair with his best friend, who was also his landlord, which resulted in him being homeless, Mr Shepherd explained.

Phillips had also shown “genuine remorse” for what had happened, the court heard.

Judge Peter Hughes QC said it must have been a “terrifying experience” for Mr Ritzen when he was confronted with Phillips in his home.

He added that it was only thanks to Mr Ritzen’s “good sense” in taking Phillips’ bank card that he was able to be identified and brought before the court.

In jailing Phillips, Judge Hughes told him: “You have convictions for house burglaries and attempted house burglaries which bear a number of similarities [to this].

“And you completed a suspended sentence only months before this took place.”

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