A Barnsley man who walked into people’s homes and pretended to be a gardener has been jailed for three-and-a-half years for burglary.
James Cawley, 42, of Smithies Lane, was found guilty of burglary and attempt burglary after being caught while in the home of a couple in their 70s and also disturbing a 68-year-old woman as she napped on her sofa in a separate interview.
In each case, he told them he was a gardener looking for work and had been knocking at their door for some time. He was told to leave and did not take any property.
Cawley was sentenced at Sheffield Crown Court on Wednesday 26 September to 42 months in prison.
Leading the investigation DC Glenn Churton said: “Cawley brazenly walked into people’s homes without any thought for who he might come across.
“Fortunately in each case he was disturbed and was not able to take any property although he has left his victims understandably shaken.
“He is now facing time behind bars which reflects the severity of his actions.”
At around 3.35pm on Saturday 31 March 2018, Cawley entered a property on Pogmoor Road in Barnsley – the home of a couple in their 70s.
He was disturbed by the couple’s 31-year-old daughter who was visiting at the time.
When approached, he asked her if they needed any gardening done before being told no and leaving. The woman reported the man to police.
Around an hour later, at a property on neighbouring Pennine Way, a 68-year-old woman woke up to find a man standing in her living room.
She told him to get out and again he said he was offering garden services before leaving.
The victim contacted police, the incidents were linked and a search of the area was carried out.
Cawley was found by officers in the back garden of a property on Redbrook Road and was arrested.
CCTV put him at the scene of the Pogmoor Road burglary as well as being identified by his clothing and scars.
“We cannot underestimate the impact this type of crime has on people who feel violated in their own home,” added DC Churton.
“Sadly, there are people out there looking for any opportunity to carry-out a sneak-in burglary and they don’t care who they target.
“But Cawley has been found guilty and will pay the price for his actions.”
For more information about how to protect your property visit: www.police.uk/crime-prevention-advice/burglary/
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