Burglar left debit clue

Joanne Humphries
Joanne Humphries

A FLEETWOOD burglar left an obvious clue behind for police to discover when she raided a house in her neighbourhood – her bank debit card.

The card belonging to Joanne Humphries was discovered at the scene of the crime on Hazeldene Road, Fleetwood, after she stole more than £2,000 worth of property while the occupants were asleep upstairs. At the time of the offence, Humphries, who Preston Crown Court heard had turned to drugs and crime following the murder of her father in 2006, was staying at an address in nearby Lingfield Road.

Judge John Benson QC was told that while on bail for the burglary a few days later, the 30-year-old stole jewellery from a different friend who gave her a place to stay.

Humphries had pleaded guilty to burglary, aggravated vehicle taking and theft during the incidents dating back to April.

She was jailed for 18 months and banned from driving for a year.

Francis McEntee, prosecuting, told the court the house on Hazeldene Road had been secured overnight before the woman living there heard the front door slam at 5.40 one morning.

On entering the living room she saw a number of items had been moved or were missing.

Property taken included computer games and bottles of spirits.

But the defendant had dropped her Barclays bank debit card, in the name of JM Humphries, in a handbag which had been searched during the raid.

Humphries’ fingerprint was also found at the point of entry to the house. Stolen items were then discovered in her possession when the police went to her home.

The family’s Ford Focus car, which Humphries used as a getaway vehicle, had a damaged bumper when it was recovered.

Within days, Humphries had stolen jewellery from a friend who had let her stay there because she was homeless.

Rachel Woods, defending, said her client was thoroughly ashamed of her court appearance.

She wholeheartedly regretted the offences. She added: “She says she has no recollection of committing the offences.

She had resorted to taking valium and was taking about 30 to 40 tablets a day.”

The barrister said Humphries had earlier managed to overcome a Class A drug addiction but an arson attack on her home saw a few token belongings of her late father destroyed, which set her back.