Thief stole £1,500 while on release for earlier burglary

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A house burglar who stole a hoard of sentimental jewellery from a Skegness couple has been jailed for two and a half years.

John Tuff, 31, took 24 items of jewellery belonging to Peter and Kay Sylvester after forcing entry to their home in St Mark’s Close while they were on holiday.

Lincoln Crown Court heard Tuff also pocketed £1,460 in cash which the couple were saving in brown envelopes for other members of their family.

Andrew Scott, prosecuting, said most of the property was taken during an untidy search of the couple’s master bedroom.

Among the stolen jewellery was Mrs Sylvester’s engagement ring, a ring given to Mrs Sylvester by her mother, a 27-year-old eternity ring and a christening bracelet.

The court heard Tuff was linked to the break-in after a police officer examined footage of two men taken on the house security camera and recognised him.

Tuff was arrested the day after the burglary when another security camera showed him leaving a gold shop in Roman Bank.

When police visited the shop they found seven items of jewellery belonging to Mrs Sylvester.

In a victim impact statement which was read out in court Mr Sylvester said: “As well as the financial impact I feel very angry.

“My wife was very upset. Her jewellery was sentimental and the money was being saved for members of the family.”

The court was told Tuff carried out the break-in after being released on licence from prison for another burglary.

David Eager, mitigating, said Tuff had written a letter of apology to the court. “Everyone can say sorry, but it seems heartfelt,” Mr Eager added.

Tuff, of no fixed address, admitted a charge of burglary between 9 and 12 August, this year.

Passing sentence Judge Sean Morris warned Tuff: “I am going to be here for a long time and I am going to remember your face.”