Court: Harrogate DIY man stole trusting neighbour’s cash... and CCTV system

The case was heard at York Crown Court
The case was heard at York Crown Court

A DIY man who was asked to do a paint job at his neighbour’s house helped himself to £2,500 of cash - and even stole the home CCTV system.

Alan Keillar, 52, hid the cash tin and recording device in the victim’s shed after disconnecting the CCTV camera in an attempt to dodge the blame for the thefts at the property on Albany Road, Harrogate.

Keillar returned to the property a week later and left with the cash and CCTV system, York Crown Court heard.

Prosecuting barrister Heather Gilmore said Keillar had been entrusted to look after his neighbour’s house and decorate the property while the owner was away.

She added that such was the victim’s trust in Keillar he even told him he had money in the house.

When the neighbour returned to find his cash and home security equipment missing, he confronted Keillar who made vehement denials.

When police arrested him on suspicion of burglary and theft, he continued to plead his innocence.

He was bailed, but just over two months later he burgled another home in Harrogate by smashing a door panel and climbing through it, before stealing household items including a mobile phone.

“Neighbours saw him smashing his way in and one of them shouted at him, but he ignored her and carried on,” said Ms Gilmore.

Keillar was arrested again and charged with burgling the property in early May. Later that month a judge gave him a 14-month jail term for that offence and six months concurrent for separate offences of harassment and criminal damage.

Keillar, of Albany Road, was later charged with the first burglary at his neighbour’s house and eventually owned up. He appeared for sentence on Friday via video link from Hull Prison, where he is serving time for the burglary in May.

He pleaded guilty to burglary and theft at his neighbour’s house on February 25.

Defence barrister Andrew Stranex claimed Keillar had stolen to pay off debts and intended to repay his neighbour.

The court heard that his 34 previous convictions for 82 offences include fraud, numerous thefts and a house burglary in 2009.

Recorder Simon Jackson QC said Keillar had used “planning and cunning” by disconnecting the CCTV at his neighbour’s home so there was no closed-circuit footage of him taking the money.

Mr Jackson said the thefts represented a “serious breach of trust” and sentenced Keillar to two years in prison, which will run concurrently with his existing sentence.

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