A BURGLAR has been jailed for three years after he broke into sheltered housing in Basingstoke while his victims were at home.

James Bowen burgled the homes of Rozanna Allen, 79, and retired Michael McCartney, in Balmoral Court, South Ham, on August 17 and September 30 last year respectively.

Both victims were at home at the time of the burglaries, and while Miss Allen did not hear Bowen, Mr McCartney woke and saw him running out of his front door.

Bowen, 22, appeared in the dock at Winchester Crown Court having admitted two counts of burglary and one of fraud at a previous hearing.

Matthew Lawson, prosecuting, said Miss Allen had left her handbag and purse hanging on her bathroom door, only to realise it had been stolen 24 hours later.

Inside the purse was £10 and her bank card, on the back of which she had written her pin code. A total of £500 was taken from two visits to cash machines by Bowen shortly after the burglary.

Bowen stole a mobile phone and an empty wallet from Mr McCartney’s home, the court heard.

Mr Lawson said: “The defendant was identified through CCTV, showing him using the cashpoint to withdraw money. Officers found that the defendant’s phone had been used with the sim card stolen from Mr McCartney’s property.”

Aleks Lloyd, defending, said Bowen, who has previous convictions, had always claimed that he did not know who was in the flats at the time, and there was no evidence that he had deliberately targeted a sheltered housing complex – a claim rejected by Judge Keith Cutler.

Jailing Bowen, of no fixed abode, for a total of three years, the judge said: “I’m sure you do understand how upsetting and concerning, and distressing, it is for someone to know that you have been in their home.”