Workman building house extension broke into children’s bedroom and stole £800 from them

A workman building a home extension broke into a child’s bedroom and stole £800 from their piggy bank.

Gary Scott had been employed to help with work on a couple’s property in Monkseaton, North Tyneside. But while no one was looking, he sneaked into a bedroom which he had no right to enter and stole money which was being saved for the couple’s grandchildren.

Newcastle Crown Court heard the builders had begun work in June last year which was still going on in August. Most of the work was being done downstairs but access was needed to a rear bedroom to remove some brickwork.

However on August 21, the man who lives there entered a front bedroom which the building workers had no need to go into. Michael Cahill, prosecuting, said: “There were four ceramic piggy banks for their grandchildren and he could see there was damage and an amount of money missing.

“He counted the sums up and £860 in bank notes had been stolen. He said the underside of one of the piggy banks had been broken.” The builder was informed and after that Scott did not attend.

Police were called and Scott’s fingerprints were found on the piggy banks and he was arreste

The victim said: “The realisation that a person who we employed to work on our property, who we trusted, was devious enough to furtively enter private areas and steal from our grandchildren’s money box has severely unnerved my wife and grandchildren.”

Scott, 44, of Park Lane, Shiremoor, North Tyneside, who has 45 previous convictions, including for burglaries in the 1990s, pleaded guilty to burglary.

Vic Laffey, defending, said: “It’s certainly a very mean offence, he has acknowledged that in the pre-sentence report. He was homeless and sofa surfing and had a drink problem.

“He is ashamed. He has never been to prison before. Being remanded in custody has been a salutary lesson to him.”

Recorder Toby Hedworth told Scott it was an “extremely mean offence”, adding: “During your employment you took advantage of the situation of having access to parts of the house. You were only entitled to be in certain parts of the house but breached the trust placed in you by going to another part of the house where you systematically rifled through piggy banks for their young grandchildren.”

He said he would suspend the sentence because otherwise Scott would be released at the end of his jail term without his issues being addressed, increasing the risk of reoffending. Recorder Hedworth said: “I want to make sure that not only are you punished for what you have done but that you are stopped in your tracks to prevent you behaving like this again.

“It in no way diminishes the downright dishonesty of what you did. I’m conscious you are not only remorseful for what you did but are downright ashamed ad rightly so.”