Woman used dog to steal from pensioner

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A woman burglar has been jailed after she let her dog run into a pensioner’s home and then used the distraction to steal a year’s savings from her.

Leeds Crown Court heard on Monday how the 77-year-old victim found Julie Dawn Penn, of Batley, on her kitchen doorstep two days before Christmas.

Louise Gallagher, prosecuting, said Penn’s dog ran through the kitchen into the living room of her home in Lee Road, Ravensthorpe, and she then asked if she could go and retrieve her.

The pensioner waited briefly in the kitchen and then went to the living room where she noticed her purse had disappeared. She challenged Penn about that but she denied having taken it.

The dog then run out of the living room and upstairs and Penn went after it.

It was only after she left the house that the victim realised a wallet containing between £600-£800 in savings built up over a year was also missing.

The court heard the victim had seen Penn in the area before, including walking her dog, and was able to tell the police who she was. When she was arrested Penn initially put forward an alibi but later accepted the dog had run into the house.

“The Crown’s case is she effectively used the dog as a means to get into the house,” said Ms Gallagher

Penn, 38 of Arncliffe Road, Healey, admitted the burglary but claimed there was only £500 in the wallet. The conviction meant she was a three strike burglar liable for a minimum sentence and also in breach of a community order imposed a month earlier.

She was jailed for 876 days for the burglary and 28 days consecutive for the dishonesty on which the community order was previously imposed.

Michael Collins, mitigating, said she had not committed a burglary since 2005 and was entitled to credit for her plea.

Sentencing her, Judge Geoffrey Marson QC said if she did not address her drug problem she would continue to offend and return to prison but he accepted she had shown some remorse and had not committed burglary for some years.