A MEPHEDRONE user went on a £17,000 burgling spree to fund his drug-taking and other spending, York Crown Court heard.
Rob Galley, prosecuting, said Dean Maurice Barker, 27, targeted nine houses in two weeks as well as carrying out two commercial burglaries.
Barker, who was jailed for three-and-a-half years, took the “legal high” drug mephedrone, which The Press is campaigning to have banned.
Barker’s solicitor, Kevin Blount, said his client needed money to pay for the drug, but his benefits had been stopped because he had missed an appointment at the Benefits Agency. Mr Blount said: “He was without income and resorted to these offences to get money.”
Barker pleaded guilty to four house burglaries and the theft of an Audi car and asked for another house burglary, four attempted house burglaries and two commercial burglaries to be taken into consideration, all committed during two weeks in January.
Recorder David Wilby QC told Barker: “These were serious offences, as you know. They have the hallmark of professionalism about them.”
He jailed Barker, of Pickering House, March Street, The Groves, for three-and-a-half years.
Mr Galley said that on January 5, the occupiers of a house in Station Road, Upper Poppleton, were sleeping upstairs when Barker broke into their home, stole the keys of their £12,750 Audi and drove it off from outside the house. Police found it undamaged at a different address where they arrested Barker two days later.
At 3.45am on January 18, a woman thought a noise downstairs at her home in Thief Lane, off Hull Road, was her grandson. But it was Barker as he searched her living room and stole two laptops, a mobile phone and other items worth £1,200.
The same night, he stole jewellery, cash and electronic items worth £1,600 from a house in Barstow Avenue, off Hull Road, and a television worth £300 from a house in Nelson Street, The Groves. But when he sold a laptop he had stolen, the buyer realised something was wrong, alerted police and gave them Barker’s name. Barker has a long record for dishonesty and motoring offences.
Mr Blount said Barker had shown he could go straight, as he had done for nearly two years since his release in 2008 part-way through a four-year sentence for robbery. He was not on parole at the time of the burglaries and he regretted getting back into crime. A North Yorkshire police spokesman urged people not to use mephedrone.
“While mephedrone is not illegal, its effects can be extremely dangerous. In certain cases, taking the drug has resulted in death, therefore we would advise people to think very carefully before using it.”
•The Press launched its Menace Of Mephedrone campaign in January, after a 17-year-old student at Pocklington collapsed at school after taking the drug.
The campaign calls for the drug to be banned, and the Advisory Council On The Misuse of Drugs is compiling evidence for the Home Office.
It is currently legal if it is sold as plant food and marketed as not being for human consumption.
By Megi Rychlikova
March 13, 2010