A serial burglar who targeted a Bedford house while a young family were away over Christmas was jailed for 30 months yesterday (Monday).
Over 63 items were taken when the Shakespeare Road property was ransacked by a gang including Michael Clark.
Clark, 53, was caught because he left behind a tiny trace of his blood on a broken window by the front door.
When the speck of blood was scientifically examined it gave up his unique DNA code.
Clark – who had chalked up a long list of previous burglaries and been before the courts on numerous occasions – pleaded guilty to the break in when he appeared at Luton crown court.
Prosecutor Sarah Taylor said Clark had been part of a gang that had taken property from the house in Shakespeare Road, Bedford worth more than £11,000.
The gang had struck some time between Christmas Day last year when the family left the property and when they returned on December 29.
Judge Mark Bishop was told every room in the house was ransacked leaving the young family shocked by the mess the burglars had left behind.
Mess from inside the house had been strewn across the front lawn and on the drive and 63 items, including electrical goods and even family documents like birth certificates, were taken.
Miss Taylor said following the arrest of the defendant, the wife realised she had seen him some weeks earlier when she had pulled onto her driveway outside her home to find him apparently unwell.
She and a passerby tried to help him and an ambulance was called.
The court heard that 53-year-old Clark lived nearby and may have been keeping tabs on the property to work out when the family would be away for the festive period.
His barrister Patrick Harte told the court Clark had pleaded guilty to the burglary at an early stage and was remorseful and shocked at the amount of property taken.
He said the idea for the break in had come from a person who was staying with the defendant in his flat.
Mr Harte said two other people along with Clark had carried out the burglary and it was his client’s case that he had not actually entered the property.
The court heard Clark had a difficult background with mental health issues and “daily battles with mood.”
Mr Harte said his client had described his current situation as having “some good days, but plenty of bad.”
Judge Bishop was told Clarke had got nothing from the burglary and it was likely he had been “taken advantage of” by others.
Passing sentence the judge told Clark “The real damage done by a burglar is that he leaves behind a sense of vulnerability – a sense that it could happen again at any time.”
The judge told Clark that he had left the family feeling vulnerable and the effects of what he done on them was long lasting
He jailed Clark for a total of 30 months.