A BURGLAR went on a night-time stealing spree while aiming to clear a drug debt – but ended up being caught by one of his victims.
Carlisle Crown Court heard how the outbuildings of three rural addresses near Penrith were targeted in the early hours of 19th October.
CCTV captured two figures – including 36-year-old Michael John Torrance, of Norfolk Road, Penrith – leaving a farm building in the Stoneybeck area with a stolen chainsaw at around 3-50am.
Two other properties were also targeted at nearby Maidenhill. The owner of one heard a “bang” at around 5-15am. He ran outside towards a barn and shone a torch towards two intruders. “He was able to take hold of one of the males – the defendant (Torrance) – and detain him on the ground,” prosecutor Megan Tollitt told the court.
A hacksaw – stolen from an adjacent property along with hedge cutters and a leaf-blower – was found at that scene. The occupant of the address nearby had since described in a statement feeling “anxious, frustrated and angered” by the crime. Ms Tollitt said: “He worries constantly that Mr Torrance and/or his accomplice may return one day.”
Torrance was arrested and interviewed. “He referred to owing a lot of money from a previous drug debt and admitted he and the other male were out looking to steal,” added the prosecutor.
Torrance later admitted two non-dwelling burglaries and theft, and a third with intent to steal. He was due to have been sentenced for the three offences in court today (TUES). However, the case was adjourned after his lawyer suggested a probation service pre-sentence report could offer punishment options other than immediate custody.
The judge, Recorder Lawrence McDonald, ordered a report but warned a prison sentence was still a possibility. Torrance is due to be sentenced on 7th January, and was remanded in custody until then.