A burglar who forced his way into the staff room of a Kenilworth dental practice while his accomplice distracted the receptionist by booking an appointment has been jailed.
Warwick Crown Court heard that ‘professional burglar’ Darren McKinlay escaped with three purses – and an attempt was then made to trick the victims into disclosing their pin numbers.
McKinlay, 42, of William Marshall House, Attoxhall Road, Wyken, Coventry, was jailed for three years after pleading guilty to the burglary, failing to surrender to custody and breaching a suspended sentence.
Prosecutor Sophie Murray said that in December 2014 CCTV cameras showed McKinlay and John King turning up at the Kenilworth Dental Practice in Station Road, Kenilworth at about 2.30pm.
King went through the pockets of coats on a coat stand in in the waiting area before then engaging the receptionist in conversation and booking an appointment.
Meanwhile, another camera showed McKinlay going up a staircase to the staff room, which was secured by a code lock, and forcing it open.
He returned downstairs with three purses which he concealed up his jumper before leaving, followed by King – who was jailed for two years last month for his part in the burglary.
Half an hour later a call was made to the surgery by someone claiming to be from their bank and asking the victims for their pin numbers – which they sensibly refused to divulge.
The two men, who both had long criminal records, were identified by a police officer from the CCTV recording, but McInlay ‘went no comment’ when he was arrested and interviewed.
McKinlay pleaded not guilty to the burglary, and was due to stand trial in March this year, but a warrant was issued for his arrest when he failed to turn up for a pre-trial hearing in February.
He was finally picked up earlier this month and changed his plea to guilty, said Miss Murray, who added that among his previous convictions, McKinlay had nine for burglary.
Jamie Scott, defending, said McKinlay’s son is disabled and he had planned to hand himself in when the boy went into respite care in six weeks’ time, but was arrested at his girlfriend’s home.
Mr Scott said McKinlay knew nothing of the subsequent phone call to the victims – a claim King, 43, of Raphael Close, Whoberley, Coventry, also made when he was sentenced last month, having pleaded guilty more than a year ago.
“Mr McKinlay says he is now too old to be doing such a thing. He is eager, once he’s served his sentence, to move on to a new and quieter chapter in his life,” Mr Scott added.
McKinlay was jailed for 27 months for the burglary at the dental surgery, consecutive to a one-month sentence for failing to surrender to his bail and eight months of a suspended sentence he was subject to at the time.
Judge Richard Bond told him: “Today is just another day at the office for you. I say that because you are a professional burglar.
“This is your tenth burglary, and you are at a stage in your life where you simply have to take the consequences of your offending.
“You were given a suspended sentence of 12 months in July 2014, and it was only five months later that you audaciously committed the same sort of offence from which the suspended sentence was intended to deter you.”