Homeless pair squatted in house

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Two yobs stayed like cuckoos in a house that had been put up for sale turning the electricity on and sleeping in the bed while the owner was unaware.

Serial offenders Gerrard Pickard, 44, and his girlfriend Moya Brown, 39, drank lager, smoked and left the place a mess before the owner returned to cut the grass and check the house in Midway Avenue, Bridlington.

The owner, who was trying to sell the house, found empty lager cans, cigarette ends and the electricity turned back on. He was forced to change the locks on April 25 only to get a telephone call from a neighbour saying that someone had just come out of the house with their washing machine.

Brown and Pickard, both formerly of Jameson Road, Bridlington, appeared for sentence at Hull Crown Court (Friday Sept 4) after pleading guilty to a charge of theft as an alternative to burglary.

Pickard also pleaded guilty to breaching a restraining order by contacting his former partner – the mother to his six children. He banged on her door late at night and blamed her for his problems.

Crown barrister Patrica Doherty said the pair claimed they had been duped into staying at the flat by a man called Brooks who claimed to be the owner. Mrs Doherty said Brown, has 67 previous convictions for offences including burglary, drugs and shoplifiting. She said Pickard had 45 previous convictions for offences including burglary, threats to kill, drink driving, harassment and breach of court orders.

Mrs Doherty said the owner of the house had returned to the property to find the washing machine in the street. A woman had challenged the duo about taking the washing machine and they fled.

Barrister Harold Bloomfield for Pickard told the court he accepted he had more serious offences in his past. He said the couple had found themselves homeless. He said his problems of breaching his restraining order were not all of his own making and he aimed to move to Hull from Bridlington when he is released.

Barrister Richard Thompson for Moya Brown said she had been taken into custody after she could not comply with her curfew and so far had spent 58 days in prison. He said she had a number of problems and was beginning to resolve them while in custody.

Sentencing, Recorder Darren Preston told the pair they had exploited the move into the flat. “You took advantage of the offer.

“You left the place a complete mess and took the washing machine.”

He said they had both served time in prison. He told Pickard he had to be jailed because he had shown complete disregard to orders of the court.

He jailed Pickard for 27 weeks and Brown 13 weeks and ordered them to pay £900 each.