Three men jailed for break-in at retired couple’s cottage


A woman in her 80s was woken in the early hours of the morning by intruders trying to break into her Ardingly home, a court heard.

Tobias Adams, 34, of no fixed address, was jailed for 34 months, and banned from driving for two years.

He had pleaded guilty to burglary, failing to provide a breath alcohol specimen, driving without insurance, and driving without a licence, and had admitted breaching a suspended sentence.

Christopher Docherty, 28, of Little Bentswood Close, Haywards Heath, was jailed for 23 months.

He had pleaded guilty to burglary, and admitted breaching a suspended sentence.

Thomas Meaden, 35, of Lower Faircox, Henfield, was jailed for 18 months.

He had pleaded guilty to burglary.

They were sentenced at Brighton Law Courts today (November 27). Prosecutor Ross Talbott said a window was broken at a cottage in Ardingly around 4.15am on June 26 this year.

The homeowners were a couple in their 80s, he said, and the woman was woken by the sound of breaking glass.

She looked outside and saw a man in their front garden.

“She shouted at that male, and then saw him meet up with a second male and both of them ran to a car.

“The vehicle drove off in the direction of Haywards Heath.”

A neighbour had also heard the breaking glass, and looked out to see a man putting his head in through the broken window, while another tried to help him climb into the house.

She noted the registration number of the getaway car.

Mr Talbott said the car was being driven erratically, swerving about in the road.

Police found the car about 15 minutes later, with the three defendants inside.

All three gave no comment interviews. Adams, who had been in the driving seat, refused to give a breath specimen for alcohol testing.

The court heard that repairs to the window and frame cost £900.

Mr Talbott said the couple had already been preparing to move house, and have now left.

The woman, he added, had not made a victim impact statement.

“She doesn’t want to engage with the victim impact scheme, because she’s already been through the war, and things like this don’t bother her,” he said.

Caroline Moonan, representing Meaden, said it had been a spur of the moment crime, without any forward planning.

She asked for him to be given a suspended sentence with a drug rehabilitation requirement.

Mr Elliott, representing Adams and Docherty, said: “They went out to get drugs and for some reason, probably alcohol, when they couldn’t get drusg they committed this burglary.”

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