Professional house burglar from Sheffield is jailed

Steven Martin James, of Gleadless, has been jailed for 40 months for burglary
Steven Martin James, of Gleadless, has been jailed for 40 months for burglary

A ‘professional burglar’ who was confronted by a terrified woman in her own home has been jailed.

Steven James, aged 46, of Constable Road, Gleadless Valley, Sheffield broke into two properties in Kenbourne Road, Nether Edge on October 20.

Sheffield Crown Court heard James came face to face with one of his victims who had returned home and caught him red handed trying to steal a laptop and an iPod.

Prosecutor Carl Fitch said James tried to take a laptop and iPod from a house but was stopped by the homeowner.

He said: “She said she would not call police if the defendant left.

“He put down the property and was trying get out of the door saying ‘don’t call the police’. He was trying to cover his face with his hands.

“She went to open the door to allow him to escape. As he was going he picked up the laptop.

“She is a Phd student and shouted at him that all her course work was on there. She grabbed his jacket and pulled it.

“He put the laptop down and ran off through the garden.”

The court heard the woman was terrified by her ordeal and is nervous to stay in her home alone.

When James was arrested by police on The Moor, later that day he was in possession of the iPod and a Panasonic camera.

Police traced the camera to former Star journalist Martin Dawes, another resident on Kenbourne Road, by the photographs on it.

Mr Fitch said: “He hadn’t noticed anyone in the house or anything stolen.

“It appears the defendant had sneaked in and stolen the camera.”

James has 18 previous convictions for burglary and was only released from prison in August.

The court heard he had become ‘institutionalised’ and struggles when going back into the community.

James admitted two offences of burglary and was jailed for 40 months by judge Paul Camp, who branded him a ‘professional house burglar’.

Mr Dawes, who welcomed the sentence, told The Star: “We didn’t know we had been burgled until the police turned up on our doorstep.”