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Burglar targeted his niece's school
A BURGLAR has been disowned by his family for a £10,000 raid on a school where his niece is a pupil.
John Cavanagh stole 15 laptops and other computer equipment and sold them for £150 to buy drugs.
Police were alerted by an alarm and found fingerprints and shoe marks linking the 31-year-old to the crime.
Cavanagh has 62 previous offences on his record, including 24 for burglary.
He had been living in southern Scotland before returning to stay with his family in Billingham shortly before the raid.
Judge Howard Crowson heard how Cavanagh’s sister has shunned him because he targeted her daughter’s school.
The judge told the drug user: “This was a high value of school equipment, which is very hard to come by for schools.
“It causes distress and that is not mere speculation because your own niece was a pupil and it has caused upset in your family.
“The author of your presentence report sees in you no empathy in the plight of the school or children for the loss.”
Duncan McReddie, mitigating, said Cavanagh expected to go to prison and said he had clear personal troubles.
Cavanagh, whose most recent address on court papers is in Carlyles Place, Annan, Dumfrieshire, admitted burglary.
He was given a 20-month sentence which will not begin until a 37-month term for crimes in Scotland comes to an end.
Judge Crowson said: “Although I would like to consider compensation in this case, there is no possibility of repaying the school.
“I do not consider it was in any way impulsive – it was simply a man with a drugs habit stealing for his own selfish motives.”
Headteacher Maggie Fearnley said after the case: “Any incident such as a break-in is obviously upsetting for everyone at the school.”