Doncaster family left ‘devastated’ by burglary carried out at their home in dead of night 

Sheffield Crown Court.
Sheffield Crown Court.

A Doncaster family have been left ‘devastated’ by a burglary carried out at their home while they were asleep upstairs. 

Tomy Cottingham, 32, broke into the home of a family living on Great North Road, Woodlands between 10.30pm on September 26, 2018 and 4.30am the following morning, Sheffield Crown Court heard. 

“The patio doors had been forced, and an untidy search was carried out. Jewellery, bank cards, electrical items and car keys were stolen,” Susan Evans prosecuting, told the court. 

The family were asleep while the burglary took place, and awoke to discover the home had been raided. 

When police subsequently examined the property, a finger print matching Cottingham’s was found on a windowsill. 

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Through a victim impact statement read out in court, the family described how the burglary had ‘devastated’ them, both financially and emotionally. 

They said: “We are a working family...and have had to pay £800 to have an alarm and CCTV fitted, and have had to pay £300 in an insurance excess, and to have new car keys programmed. 

“But that is just daughter is now afraid to be on her own. My husband constantly looks outside at everyone going past, he has become paranoid. We have all been traumatised by this invasion of our home. I personally feel broken.” 

Ms Evans described how Cottingham attempted to use one of the bank cards stolen from the premises at 4.15am on the morning of September 28, but it was refused. 

Cottingham, of The Ridge, Woodlands was caught on CCTV attempting to use the card.

The court heard how Cottingham was also caught attempting to use another stolen bank card at the One Stop Shop on Great North Road, Woodlands just two days before the burglary was carried out. 

He later returned to the One Stop Shop in the early hours of December 7 last year, when he broke in to the convenience store. 

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Ms Evans described how he caused damage to the tills and National Lottery kiosk, and was attempting to flee the scene by exiting through the roof of the store when police arrived. 

They later arrested him at his mother’s address, the court heard. 

Cottingham, who has previously been convicted of some 68 offences, pleaded guilty to two counts of fraud, one count of dwelling-house burglary and one count of commercial burglary at an earlier hearing. 

Defending, Cheryl Dudley, described Cottingham as someone who had a ‘binge-drinking’ problem, and said he had found it difficult to access the help he needed from Doncaster’s alcohol support services because he did not have any alcohol in his system when he was breathalysed by the  service.

She said Cottingham burgled the property with others, whose identities are not known, and he acted as look-out. 

“He has made matters worse for himself, and knows this crosses the custody threshold,” said Ms Dudley. 

Recorder Duncan Smith adjourned the hearing until tomorrow morning (January 3, 2019), to consider what sentence should be passed. 

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