Four years in jail for burglaries

Brent Cleghorn (37) committed four burglaries within days of each other. Photo: Rob Kidd
Brent Cleghorn (37) committed four burglaries within days of each other. Photo: Rob Kidd
A Dunedin burglar, whose eight-day crime spree netted him more than $10,000 of jewellery, has been jailed for four years.

Brent Douglas Cleghorn (37) repeatedly struck during May last year and at his Dunedin District Court sentencing last week Judge Kevin Phillips said the marks were carefully targeted.

''The burglaries were planned,'' he said.

''I think they were all premeditated. I think all the properties were selected. I think you were determined to get in ... you needed goods for the satisfaction of your own habits and addictions.''

Cleghorn's most serious offence was the burglary of a Forbury Rd home on the night of May 4, 2017.

The defendant reverted to his modus operandi to access the property.

''You smash a window close to the door so you can get the lock undone,'' the judge said.

''That's how you normally break into houses.''

Cleghorn grabbed two bottles of spirits before venturing upstairs to the victim's bedroom.

He emptied a jewellery box containing $10,000 of items and left.

The victim - an elderly woman suffering from Parkinson's disease - had been given the precious jewels by her late husband, the court heard.

The couple had been together 60 years but he had died a couple of years before the break-in, the woman wrote in a statement.

''She was shaken up, scared in her own home and vulnerable,'' Judge Phillips said.

The jewellery had been recovered, he noted.

The day before the Forbury Rd burglary, Cleghorn used the same technique to force his way into a David St house.

There he stole Lotto tickets, documents and prescription medication before scarpering when the residents came home.

Over the following days he stole $380 from behind the counter of a Hillside Rd business and broke into homes in Pencarrow St and Edwin St.

Cleghorn made off with games consoles, a DVD player, an electronic tablet and a camcorder.

Those items were later found by police, the court heard.

He was also convicted of two counts of trespassing at the Warehouse.

Despite Cleghorn's objections, Judge Phillips granted an Otago Daily Times application to photograph him.

He said there was a ''strong community focus'' in such a string of crimes and the media served as the ''eyes of the public'' in court.

The judge refused to impose a minimum non-parole period.

Cleghorn will therefore face the Parole Board after serving a third of the sentence.

rob.kidd@odt.co.nz

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