A JUDGE has jailed a prolific Carlisle burglar whose most serious recent offence ended in failure after he got stuck in a cat-flap at a children’s home.

Repeat offender Simon Highmore, 34, was told he had demonstrated complete disregard people’s property during his latest offending spree - part of his continuing and desperate effort fund his drugs habit.

He committed his worst offence, the attempted burglary, at a children’s home on Warwick Road, Carlisle, on May 4 last year. “He attempted to gain entry by force through a cat flat in the rear door,” prosecutor Brendan Burke told the city's crown court.

“He failed in that endeavour and in the process left blood around the cat flap.” Highmore was traced after police extracted his DNA profile from the blood he left behind.

An earlier hearing was told that a child who was living at the was left feeling anxious and insecure following the failed break-in.

The bungled burglary was just part of a long spree of offending that continued for weeks, the court heard. The other offences admitted by Highmore included:

  • The theft on October 6 of a bike from outside a house at Fusehill Street.
  • A garage burglary between on December 27 last year and January 5.
  • The burglary of a garage at Warwick Road on January 5, when he stole a pressure washer and a paint sprayer.
  • The theft of a car radio from a parked vehicle.
  • And the attempted burglary of a garage at Brunton Crescent, off Warwick Road

He admitted the offences.

Prosecutors asked for a further burglary at Timpsons in Carlisle in late December last year to be taken into consideration. On that occasion, Highmore stole computer kit and cables. The defendant has 147 previous offences on his record.

A prolific thief, Highmore also appeared to specialise in non-domestic burglaries. Tariq Khawam, defending, said Highmore had been in custody since January 2, and he had pleaded guilty to most of the offences he was charged with.

“This is a catalogue of offences,” Judge Nicholas Barker told the defendant.

Throughout his adult life, Highmore had committed acquisitive crimes, his record presenting a clear picture of somebody who committed those offences to pay for drugs.

“Over the years, you have received many custodial sentences and sentences where the courts and the Probation Service have sought to rehabilitate you and to address your difficulties and addictions and the reasons for your addictions and offending,” continued the judge.

“It’s clear that those steps have failed.

Ther was a period between 2021 and 2023 when Highmore abstained from drink and drugs and he did not offend but his contact with certain people led to him drinking again and, his resolved broken, he began again to drink and take drugs.

“And you began to commit crimes again,” continued the judge.

Judge Barker said Highmore’s offending caused “huge inconvenience” for his victims and it also created a legacy of insecurity for the owners of the properties he burgled. He had known the property on Warwick Road was a children’s home. “I am quite confident you saw it as a soft target,” said the judge.

“That is a worrying sign; it demonstrates a complete disregard for other people’s property. You have always prioritised your need to feed your habit above any concerns you might have for others.”

Jailing Highmore, formerly of Milbourne Street, Carlisle, for 20 months, the judge added: “It should give the residents of Carlisle some respite from your offending.”