Chapel of rest is raided by burglar

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A BURGLAR with nerves of steel looted a chapel of rest after breaking into a Doncaster funeral parlour.

The body of a woman was lying in the chapel of J Steadman’s in Balby Road when Jason Robert Holland went looking for valuables.

Fortunately, the undertaker’s security alarm system was so good that police officers were on the scene within minutes and arrested the 39-year-old in the rear yard of the premises.

Holland, unemployed, pleaded guilty to the burglary when he appeared at Doncaster Crown Court.

He was also sentenced on a separate charge of attempted burglary at the Pedal Power bike shop, in St Sepulchre Gate West last summer, which he had denied.

Prosecutor Mark Kendall said the burglary at the funeral director’s happened around 11pm on January 22 when the alarm system alerted one of the managers, who immediately attended the premises and could see a man in the reception area.

When the manager checked the building he found it had been ransacked, doors were kicked in, papers strewn everywhere, drawers were pulled out but the most shocking aspect was the discovery that the chapel of rest had been entered.

Mr Kendall said: “A female was lying there but that had not deterred the defendant from looking around.”

Three pouches containing the property of deceased persons, including some jewellery, were missing but they were all recovered from Holland. He caused £1,400 worth of damage to the undertakers.

Holland’s counsel, Iain Hillis, said: “It’s easy to get emotional about the burglary of a funeral director’s but there is no evidence anyone has been distressed by it.”

The offence was motivated by his addiction to drugs and he would welcome a drug rehabilitation programme to break the cycle of crime and addiction, Mr Hillis said.

Holland was living in Burton Avenue, Balby, at the time of the burglary but is able to move to his sister’s home in Addison Road, Mexborough, after the judge suspended a 12 months’ prison sentence, saying it was “pointless to lock him up again”.

He must also complete a nine months’ drug treatment programme and 150 hours’ community service.