A BURGLAR stole valuable items from a University of Chester student after targeting the halls of residence.
Christopher Metcalfe, 23, had been involved in ‘gang culture’ in Liverpool but feared his life was in danger so fled to the Wirral.
Chester Crown Court was told he travelled to Chester and climbed through an open bedroom window at the Hollybank Housing student halls on Parkgate Road.
He entered the room at about 10.15pm while the female student was watching TV in another room and stole her purse, keys, shoes, jewellery, an iPad worth £200 and a laptop worth £500.
Jo Maxwell, prosecuting, said the victim was alerted to an intruder after the door of the bedroom she was in with her friend opened slightly before closing again.
“Her friend’s bedroom door was opened slightly and they went to look at what happened and check on a friend,” she said.
“The victim went into her room and found her window was wide open and the items missing. She then told the university residence staff and the police were called.”
Police officers found Metcalfe acting suspiciously nearby and he was arrested.
Officers later found the stolen items stashed in the grounds of Hollybank Housing.
Metcalfe initially made up a “cock and bull story” about not having enough money to get the train back to Birkenhead and said he aimed to sell the tems to pay for his train fare.
But he later admitted he’d pre-planned the burglary after police found gloves on him despite the weather being unusually warm.
Metcalfe, who had 20 previous convictions including burglary and drugs offences, pleaded guilty to the burglary on May 4.
Judge Ian Trigger told Metcalfe he was satisfied he’d come to Chester solely to commit the “mean offence” but he spared him custody.
He said: “It’s probably as well that I do not peer too much into your murky past but it’s obvious you were involved in a gang culture when you lived on the other side of the water.
“You’ve paid a price for that and you took yourself off and have been living in the Wirral since 2012.”
“Clearly it was planned, the room you entered was likely to have been occupied and it was a night time offence and therefore the custody threshold has been breached.
I’m going to give you one more chance by suspending the sentence.”
The judge said he had decided not to send Metcalfe straight to jail as he was getting his life back on track and he’d been given an “exceptional chance” from Birkenhead YMCA where he was now living.
Hayley Cooper, defending, said Metcalfe had pleaded guilty at the first opportunity and accepted full responsibility for what he had done.
She said: “He moved to the Wirral in 2012 because he was in fear for his life because of his criminal lifestyle in Liverpool.
“He was initially homeless but has found accommodation from the YMCA. He is now stable in his address. He is someone who has made the most of this opportunity to address his behaviour.”
Judge Trigger sentenced Metcalfe to nine months in prison, suspended for 12 months, and gave him a four-month curfew.