Stephen Brady was living in Blackpool after being released from prison and fell back into heavy drug use after being asked to move
A gem thief grandad raided homes of innocent victims before fleeing on an electric scooter with £25,000 worth of jewellery and cash.
Stephen Brady snatched high value items to fund his £200-a-day drug addiction.
The 54-year-old was living in Blackpool after being released from prison and had made efforts to turn his life around, a court heard.
However his ‘progress was undone’ when he was asked to move and fell back into heavy drug use.
The career criminal, who has 33 previous convictions for burglary offences and a rap sheet dates back to the 1980s, used an electronic scooter to flee from the scene of his crimes.
Brady had racked up a hefty drug habit – which he funded by targeting the homes of innocent victims.
In one cruel raid in Prestwich, the crook made off with more than £12,000 in valuables, the M.E.N reports.
Prosecutor Brian Berlyne said on July 2 last year, a man returned to his house at around 2.50pm to discover it had been broken into.
He told the court: “Entry was gained by smashing a rear window.
“Around £330 worth of jewellery was stolen.
“Brady was later identified by a police officer as a result of CCTV footage, despite wearing a face mask and gloves.”
In a victim statement, the homeowner said his wife, who is on her own at home during the day, has become ‘very nervous’ since the burglary took place.
Mr Berlyne told the court the victim was worried that Brady would come back and steal their Christmas presents before he was eventually caught.
The second burglary took place on Northbrook Avenue on July 16 when the victim returned to his house to find a rear window had been smashed.
“Around £6,800 worth of jewellery and clothes were stolen,” Mr Berlyne told the court.
“Blood stains were left in the house and the DNA matched the defendant. CCTV footage showed him arriving on an electric scooter.”
In a statement, the victim, who had lived in the house for 51 years, said he no longer felt safe there and was considering moving.
On August 31, one victim had left his home on Edenfield Road to go out with his wife and young children.
The court heard that a neighbour raised the alarm after spotting Brady on the front driveway, appearing to be in a ‘hurry.’
When the homeowner arrived home, he noticed that his back door was open and phoned the police.
“CCTV footage shows the defendant climbing on to the flat roof at the side of the house,” Mr Berlyne told the court.
“Whilst on that roof he used a brick to smash a bedroom window.
“Jewellery and cash worth £6,420 was stolen.”
In a victim impact statement, the man said the items which had been stolen had sentimental value, and that his daughter felt too scared to live in the house afterwards.
The final burglary took place on September 24 on Sheepfoot Lane in Prestwich, with jewellery estimated to be worth £12,000 stolen from the property.
A glass panel in the back door to the house had been smashed by Brady to gain access, the court heard.
The female victim said in an impact statement that the jewellery stolen included irreplaceable heirlooms she intended to give to her children.
“My 10-year-old son now sleeps in bed with me due to being so scared the burglar will come back,” she said.
“He is scared when he hears noises.
“All of the possessions were very sentimental. Some of them have memories I won’t be able to get back.”
Defending, Victoria Lewis said her client had made efforts to turn his life around after he was last released from prison.
“He was released from prison in July 2020 and was able to start building a more positive and happy life,” Ms Lewis told the court.
“This was made possible by stable accommodation in Blackpool. He was able to work and come off drugs completely. He made contact with his family again.
“That progress was then undone when he was asked to move and given no other options.
“He fell back into heavy drug use which was costing him between £100 to £200 a day.
“His mental health deteriorated significantly after his last prison sentence. He has also been diagnosed with emphysema and he struggles with that.”
Brady, of Moss Bank, Manchester was jailed for four and a half years after admitting four counts of burglary of a dwelling.
Sentencing, Judge Andrea Neild said: “You are no stranger to these courts.
“This was no spur of the moment venture. You had arrived at these houses on an electric scooter which allowed you to be easily hidden and escape quickly.
“You took property which had significant financial value and in one case personal value.”