A ‘MEAN’ ex-boyfriend broke into his ex-partner’s home while she was out shopping and stole £3,000 that she had been saving to buy a car.
Benjamin Myers and his friend Stephen McDaid raided the flat in Dawlish and then flashed the cash by brandishing bundles of it in the air while claiming they had won it at a casino.
Myers called his ex before the Saturday lunchtime burglary and discovered that she was out shopping in Exeter, which meant that her flat was empty and unguarded.
The pair were filmed on a neighbour’s doorbell camera as they headed for the property on March 25 this year and seen leaving just two and a half minutes later.
They headed to the home of Myers’s new girlfriend where they gave her £600 out of their so-called winnings after waving around £10 and £20 notes, Exeter Crown Court was told.
Myers was traced within hours and most of the cash was recovered, although the police have not counted it or returned it.
McDaid was already being hunted by police at the time after skipping bail for a dangerous driving offence in which he crashed a friend’s car after a 110 mph chase.
Myers, aged 31, of Old Town Walk, Dawlish, and McDaid, of no fixed address, Teignmouth, admitted burglary. McDaid also admitted dangerous driving and having no insurance.
Judge David Evans imposed suspended jail terms of ten and 19 months respectively with conditions including rehabilitation days, unpaid community work and a drug rehabilitation requirement for McDaid.
He told them: 'This was a mean offence, without doubt.'
He adjourned any consideration of compensation until police confirm how much money is missing.
Miss Evie Dean, prosecuting, said the victim of the burglary had been in a short relationship with Myers which had ended. He knew that she had saved more than £3,000 cash to buy a car and kept it in a handbag in her ground floor flat.
She received a phone call from Myers on the morning of the raid in which she told him she was shopping in Exeter and she returned to find a rear window had been opened and the cash stolen.
Miss Dean said: 'About 30 minutes after the burglary, both defendants went to the home of Myers’s new partner. McDaid went into the living room with his hands full of £10 and £20 notes which they said they had won at a casino.
'Myers said they had won £10,000 but gambled £3,000 back and gave his girlfriend £600 and told her to buy something for herself.
'They spoke about buying a car and Myers spent about £100 on fuel, snacks and scratchcards at a filling station in Teignmouth.'
An impact statement said the victim no longer feels safe in her own home and was so shocked that she went to stay with her family for a while.
Miss Lisa Denley, for Myers, said it was McDaid who went into the flat but it was accepted that it had been a joint enterprise.
She said they had gone to work on a Saturday, discovered they were not needed, and committed the burglary on impulse.
They had only been at the property for two-and-a-half minutes and Myers felt remorseful immediately and pleaded guilty at the first opportunity. He is a trained diamond cutter who is currently working for a specialist building firm, which has given him an excellent reference.
Mr Paul Dentith, for McDaid, said he has been in custody since his arrest and this has enabled him to get off cocaine for the first time in years and to realise the damage that drugs have done to his life.
He has reached a turning point in his life and will go straight back to work as soon as he is released. He said the dangerous driving was short-lived, that nobody else was put at risk.