Burglar caught out by bizarre habits

This Is Wiltshire: Gary Turner, pictured leaving Swindon Magistrates Court yesterday Gary Turner, pictured leaving Swindon Magistrates Court yesterday

DRUG addict Gary Turner was collared by police after leaving his own unique signature at the scene of a crime in which he stole more than £4,000 worth of hairdressing products on New Year’s Eve.

Police recognised the calling card of the prolific burglar at John Samuel hair salon on Bridge Street when he left telephones in a sink and filled it with water.

Turner's DNA was discovered in a Coca-Cola bottle filled with urine which he had left at the scene.

Pleading guilty to one count of burglary at Swindon Magistrates' Court yesterday, Turner, 34, of a care home in Whitworth Road, Pinehurst, was handed a 26-week custodial sentence suspended for 12 months.

He was also ordered to repay £750 of the £4,137.46 stolen from the beauty salon.

Keith Bellinger, prosecuting, said: “At 2.30pm on New Years Eve the salon owner left the premises, and returned at 8.30am on 2 January.

“She saw that the glass in the back door had been smashed, and noted a messy search of every room had been conducted.

“Items had also been left in the sink, which had then been filled with water. Telephones had been placed in the sink before the taps were turned on. Bleach had also been poured all around the room.

“She also noticed a small window upstairs had been broken next to a flat roof, which appeared to be the point of entry.

“Police were called and they knew the hallmarks of the burglary, which caused them to suspect Mr Turner.

“They went to his address where staff were confident he had returned on New Year’s Eve carrying a black bin bag, which appeared to be full.

“A member of staff told police there were items which appeared to be consistent with the burglary in his room. Police recovered a bin bag filled with a number of GHD products.

“Police also recovered a Coca-Cola bottle containing an orange liquid containing the defendant’s DNA.

“When asked if he had been in the hairdressers Turner said he had not.”

Turner admitted the offence on May 9 after being released from a 20-week prison sentence for a similar burglary.

“He said he had been using heroin, crack cocaine and other drugs heavily and they had a negative impact on his memory of the events,” added Mr Bellinger.

“He has previous convictions of burglary, two of which are for non-dwelling burglaries. On January 11 he was sentenced to 20 weeks in prison for a similar offence.”

Martin Wiggins, defending, said Turner was on his way to recovery for his drugs problems.

“This defendant actually recognises his problems and has shown significant motivation to address his drug misuse, which is the underlying motivation for his historic behaviour,” he said.

“His life has been spent in and out of prison with repeated offending, all related to drug misuse.

“He appears to have undertaken very massive change in his own life. Rehabilitation is the only way for him to overcome all the difficulties he has faced before.

“It is a sad fact that the majority of drug users do not recieve successful treatment in prison and upon release return to criminal activity. Often, as in this case, it is small businesses who suffer the hardest.

“It is little surprise that prison does not hold much fear for him. What does hold fear is failure.”

Chair of the bench Robert Berry, sentencing, said: “From what we have heard you are making progress in addressing your drug issues and changing your life.

“Without that you would be sent back to prison today. You were a whisker away from just that.”

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