A “BLIND drunk” burglar sneaked within feet of his sleeping victim after breaking into a house to steal a car while three times over the drink-drive limit.
Alcoholic Craig Groves, 28, had drunk 12 cans of Strongbow in three hours before breaking into a family home in Catterall Avenue, St Helens, in October.
Joanne Maxwell, prosecuting, told Liverpool crown court that William Letsche, who lived at the address with his wife and daughter, had fallen asleep on the couch in the living room.
When he woke up at 1am he discovered the conservatory door and back gate were open and that the keys to both family cars had been stolen along with his wife’s handbag, purse and credit cards.
His Citroen Picasso, which he used as a minicab, and his wife’s Fiat Punto had been taken from the street outside.
They called the police who picked up Groves driving the Picasso around the St Helens Linkway and arrested him.
Groves, of Brunswick Street, St Helens, denied burglary, claiming he found the Picasso parked in the street with the key in the door, but was found guilty at trial
He admitted unauthorised taking of a motor vehicle, driving without a licence or insurance and driving with excess alcohol.
Ms Maxwell said Groves had 46 previous offences on his record and 21 convictions including theft, dishonesty, possession of cannabis and three previous convictions for drink driving.
Christine Redmond, defending, said he committed the burglary “on impulse”, adding: “His alcoholism seems to be at the root of the majority of his offending behaviour.”
Recorder Tanya Griffiths QC said: “The occupier was asleep on the couch feet from your point of entry. His presence must have been obvious to you but that did not deter you or your accomplice.
“When you saw the occupant on the couch you carried on, you didn’t go back.
“A confrontation then with a man who was blind drunk would have been terrifying for that man when he woke up and realised a drink-crazed man had been in his house.
“Immediate custody is the only an option for offences of this seriousness.”
She jailed Groves for three years for the burglary, gave him an extra four months for driving while drunk and banned him from driving for four years.
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