A judge has heard how an Elland shop owner was left feeling devastated after a drugged-up drunk broke into her premises on Christmas Day and stole her till.
Bradford Crown Court heard that the till, which was not recovered, only contained about £40 in cash, but it also had in it a sentimental memento associated with Annette Brearey’s late mother.
Miss Brearey, who owns Contors Dance Wear on Huddersfield Road, said the break-in happened a year to the day that her mother, Dorothy Greaves, had died.
Mrs Greaves - known as Dolly - was 66 and spent her last days in Overgate Hospice.
Her daughter said: “She had encouraged me to open the shop and when i did that after her death, I found a feather on the floor when I opened up. People say it sounds daft but I knew that feather had come from Mum and I kept it in the till.
“On Christmas Day last year, we were all at my dad’s house to mark the first anniversary of her death. We had a lovely day and then the police rang to the shop had been burgled.
“It was a special day and that man ruined it”.
Miss Brearey’s moving impact statement addressed burglar Craig Hill directly and told him that he had violated her shop and home.
In the statement, part of which was read out by prosecutor Jonathan Sharp, she said the attack on the shop couldn’t have come at a worse time and Hill had stolen "much more than the till".
Just a few days before the break-in police had turned up at Hill’s home in Catherine Street, Elland, and found a cannabis factory set up in the attic.
Mr Sharp said the electricity was being by-passed and 18 plants were growing with the use of lamps and timers.
The plants could have produced about 800 grammes of cannabis which would have been worth £6,900 on the streets.
Hill pleaded guilty to producing cannabis and the burglary charge and Judge Jonathan Rose jailed him for a total of two years.
His lawyer Anne-Marie Hutton said he wanted to apologise directly through her to the shop owner and said Hill realised that the burglary offence richly deserved a custodial sentence.
Jailing 23-year-old Hill, Judge Rose said he had a terrible record for offending and he was no role model for the child he claimed to care so much about.
The judge said the burglary was a despicable offence and he had not thought about the effect on his victim.
"A lot of time and effort, hard work and commitment goes into setting up and running a small business," the judge told Hill.
"That’s something that you have never had and so perhaps that is why you don’t appreciate what’s involved in it.
"This lady who was living over her business at the time has been traumatised by what you have done.
"Whilst you Christmas this year is going to be considerably spoilt by the sentence I impose you’ll come out after this sentence, but every Christmas Day that passes for that lady she will remember what happened to her on Christmas Day 2013.
"So in a sense you will be alright but she will not."
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