Cut charity shop burglar caught by DNA on glass
A BURGLAR who cut himself on broken glass as he broke into a charity shop has been jailed after being caught by his DNA.
Stuart Morgan, 42, injured himself as he squeezed through a small window above a door of the strongroom at the Self Unlimited shop in Tiverton.
He broke in armed with a crowbar which he used to prise open the safe and steal more than £300 cash and a silver bracelet and chain.
He was said to have a long record of burglaries and to have been out of jail for only six weeks when he smashed his way into the charity shop in Fore Street, Exeter Crown Court was told. Morgan, of Old School Close, Tiverton, admitted burglary and was jailed for nine months by Judge John Neligan.
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The judge told him: "A short time after your release from prison you used a metal bar to break into a charity shop at night. There has to be a prison sentence.
"An addiction to drugs has been a millstone around your neck since you were 13 but the use of the metal bar indicates a degree of planning.
"A few well meaning souls give up their time to volunteer to help in shops like this and the money you took was destined for charitable causes. It is natural for them to be upset."
David Bowen, prosecuting, said Morgan broke into the shop on the night of November 22, stealing two items of jewellery worth a total of £70 and £307 cash, none of which has been recovered.
He said: "Self Unlimited is a charity for children which raises money through the shop, run entirely by volunteers, selling donated goods.
"He forced a lock on a rear door, causing some damage and tried hard to get into a secure room. He could not, and so gained access through a small glass window above the door.
"He cut himself in doing so and bled and was traced through his DNA. Once inside the secure room, he completely destroyed the safe and removed its contents.
"The manager of the shop made a victim statement saying those who worked there were extremely shaken up and distressed, were nervous about going in there and had taken measures to make it more secure."
Mr Bowen said Morgan had 24 convictions, mostly for burglary, and had been released from his last sentence on October 2.
Richard Crabb, defending, said Morgan had fought a long battle against drug addiction and had returned to heroin use because he was upset by the death of his sister at the age of just 41 the day before the raid.
He said: "He feels particularly ashamed that this was a charity shop," said Mr Crabb.
"He says if he can afford it, he always supports charity collections and has £8 a month deducted from his bank account to go to charity."