Bolton Crown Court: Burglar hit house days before Christmas

Aston McCullugh, 31, and formerly of Hindley, burgled the home on December 17 last year.

He stole £5,000 worth of property, including Christmas presents, but Bolton Crown Court heard how he left crucial evidence behind leading to his capture.

Andrew Mackintosh, prosecuting, said: “He had left blood behind at the scene, he was identified by his DNA and arrested soon after and said that he had broken into the house.”

Mr Mackintosh told the court how McCullugh, who has 23 previous convictions for 45 offences, had smashed his way through the back kitchen window on Larkhill Avenue, Standish, while the woman who lived there was out.

As well as the Christmas presents he also took perfume, aftershave, cash, iPhones, an iPad, a Playstation console and various other items.

In total he stole around £5,000 worth of property.

Mr Mackintosh added that McCullugh, who appeared via video link from prison, has been convicted of burglary several times before, including several cases where he had stolen car keys and driven off in the stolen vehicle, most recently in July 2019.

After being caught most recently, McCullugh pleaded guilty to burglary of a dwelling.

Joshua Bowker, defending, argued that McCullugh, now of approved premises on Oswald Road, Manchester, deserved credit for having pleaded guilty and said that his crimes were driven by a “long history of drug use, principally heroin and cocaine”.

He told the court that before targeting the house in Standish, McCullugh had been trying to seek treatment for his problems but turned back to crime after being unable to receive methadone for four weeks.

Mr Bowker said that since his arrest, McCullugh had been working at courses in prison to try and better himself.

He said: “He appreciates that its going to be a substantial sentence and he intends to do as many courses as he can in that time.”

But Judge Clarke reminded the court of the effect McCullugh’s most recent crime had had.

He said: “This place was effectively ransacked, it wasn’t a quick in and out.”

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Addressing the defendant, he added: “You cannot expect to keep committing domestic burglaries without having to serve longer and longer sentences.”

Judge Clarke sentenced McCullugh to two years and eight months in prison.

He said: “I hope that you will do the courses that you say you will and that you will be able to kick the habits of taking drugs and committing offences but that is down to you.”

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