Family tell of shock as son ransacks their home to pay for drugs (From Darlington and Stockton Times)
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Family tell of shock as son ransacks Stockton home to pay for drugs
THE parents of a drug user who stripped their home of £50,000 worth of belongings - including his own son's toys - last night spoke of their horror at his betrayal.
Michael Pinkney, who was yesterday jailed for five years, was given a door key so he could decorate while his mother and step-father treated his child to a holiday in Spain.
But Teesside Crown Court heard once they were gone, the 30-year-old systematically ransacked their house.
Judge Howard Crowson - branding his actions a gross breach of trust - said the items were "frittered away" after being sold at a fraction of their value.
Pinkney took scores of items, including £2,000 cash, beds, furniture, jewellery, power tools, a television, lap top, washing machine and even his own son's toys, including a mountain bike.
His mother, Lynne Hamer, 65, and her husband, Dave, told The Northern Echo how they had "broken ties" with Pinkney - but were committed to continue caring for their grandchild.
Speaking after the case, Mrs Hamer said they returned last month from a fortnight's holiday in Marbella to find their Stockton home trashed.
Even mirrors and pictures had been taken from the walls, floorboards pulled up and a piggy bank raided.
"I texted him (Pinkney) from Newcastle Airport when we got back to say 'the bairn's really excited to see you and show you all the pictures', but there was no response", she said.
"When we got home and saw the place I was so bad I couldn't breathe. It was like I had lost control of my body. Even the police were horrified."
Mr Hamer, who like his wife works in social care, said some of the stolen items, including gym equipment, were very heavy and must have taken more than one person to move them over a number of days.
The couple, who care for his son and who had decorated and furnished his flat, said Pinkney had been "doing well" and seemed drug free before they left for Spain.
"Michael seemed to be doing well, and even had a nice girlfriend, but I have to break ties with Michael now," Mrs Hamer added.
The couple's workmates raised £350 to buy a new bike, toys and computer equipment for the child.
Mrs Hamer's other two sons helped replace their furniture while other friends also rallied around.
The couple are claiming £23,000 from their house insurance but are yet to receive a pay out - however, prosecutors estimate the true value at £50,000.
David Crook, prosecuting, told Teesside Crown Court: "Given the amount of property taken it would have required a high degree of organisation. It was not just somebody walking out with a bag."
Pinkney, of Bishopton Road, Stockton, admitted burglary between July 13 and 27 this year and a street robbery, in which a 17-year-old girl had her handbag wrestled from her grasp - leaving her feeling "abused, invaded and scared.".
Uzma Khan, mitigating, said Pinkney had been offence and drug free since 2004 but at the time was dealing with the loss of his brother and father and a family rift.
"He was at an all time low," she said. "With others, completely unplanned, he took the items to pay for his drug habit."
She described him as "utterly remorseful".
Referring to the burglary, Judge Crowson told him: "Your mother who is looking after your own child went on holiday and left you with access to their home.
"Thinking of yourself and your own drug dependency before they returned you ransacked the home an left an enormous amount of property missing."
He said Pinkney was a man capable of good, but nonetheless jailed him for a total of five years for both offences.