Fire house burglar escapes jail sentence

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A BURGLAR who raided the home of Spalding fire victim June Buffham leaving behind a trail of devastation has walked free from Lincoln Crown Court with a suspended jail sentence.

Jamie Hill was one of two men who broke into the property in Stonegate looking to steal the copper water tank and sell it for scrap.

Jonathon Dee, prosecuting, said the pair ripped the tank from the piping causing water to pour out and flood the property. A ceiling collapsed and extensive damage was caused by flooding.

Mr Dee said the house was being renovated at the time ready for Mrs Buffham’s widowed husband to move back in.

“The neighbours saw lights on in the house. The defendant and another man had removed wooden boards over the windows to get in and were in the process of stealing the hot water cylinder to sell for scrap. The neighbours believed it was the builders working late.”

Hill was later linked to the burglary from spots of blood found inside the house.

He was arrested and admitted he knew the circumstances of Mrs Buffham’s death as a result of publicity in the media.

Mr Dee said: “He told officers his accomplice suggested committing the offence. He helped the other person break in and remove the water cylinder but cut himself in the process. They loaded the cylinder into the car and he walked home. He refused to name the other person.”

The court was told Mrs Buffham’s family were left distraught by the raid.

Mr Dee said: “Mrs Buffham’s daughter is disgusted that anyone would take advantage of a family tragedy to steal from the house. This added to the distress caused to Mr Buffham by his wife’s death.”

Hill (30), of Medlock Crescent, Spalding, admitted burglary on May 10. He was given a six-month prison sentence suspended for a year with supervision and ordered to pay £425 prosecution costs.

Recorder Gareth Evans QC told him: “You are no stranger to these courts. Sometimes it is difficult to see any mitigation but amazingly in your case there has been a two year gap.

“The affects of this burglary, I am sure, were far more than you anticipated but I think it is in the public interest that someone gives you a chance.”