Dad watched his Nottingham home being burgled on app while he was on holiday

-Credit: (Image: Reach Plc)
-Credit: (Image: Reach Plc)

A West Bridgford father-of-three watched helplessly on a phone app as burglars ransacked his home while he was on holiday with his young family. Nottingham Crown Court heard how a notification alerted the victim to the break-in which saw a gang steal £41,000 of designer goods and electronic devices.

Despite getting DNA of the intruders from inside the property, almost three years on the police are yet to catch the two masked men who scaled a downpipe and broke a window to gain entry. But their getaway driver, Liam Mulvaney, was snared and was spared an immediate prison term when he appeared at Nottingham Crown Court this week.

Handing the Carlton drug addict, who served as a civilian alongside American troops in Afghanistan, a suspended sentence, Recorder Brian Whitehead said: “(The victim) was on holiday with his family, including three young children, so thankfully there was no one present at the property.

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“But he did watch it take place on his camera and almost £41,000 of designed goods and electronic items were taken. It is pretty obvious that his three young children would have been badly affected by this and this burglary must have been carefully planned.”

Alex Wolfson, prosecuting, said the break-in took place in Albert Road, during the early hours of August 19, 2021. He said two masked men climbed up a pipe to smash a window to gain entry to the house before making “an untidy search” of the entire upstairs and stealing thousands of pounds of items.

The prosecutor said: “The victim was on holiday with his family, his children were all aged 12 or under at the time, and had to watch as his house was being burgled which was disturbing and incredibly upsetting for them all. Although there is no victim impact statement, the family were left living in perpetual fear that the burglars knew what they had in their house and would come back.

-Credit:Reach Plc
-Credit:Reach Plc

“Two men, their faces covered with either balaclavas or hoods, were inside the property for two hours between 1.30am and 3.30am and helped themselves to a considerable amount of high-value items.

“The crown accepts this defendant’s role was as the driver and that the van circled around the area while the burglary was taking place and was used to take the stolen goods away. A high-value coat was dropped while they were leaving through the back garden.”

It was not said in court how Mulvaney, of Honeywood Drive, was linked to the burglary, but Mr Wolfson said he was identified, arrested and later pleaded guilty to burglary. The defendant has 19 previous convictions for 55 offences dating back to when he was a youth in the 1990s.

They include burglary, theft, criminal damage and handling stolen goods, Mr Wolfson said. Lauren Manuel, mitigating, said: “Mr Mulvaney has suffered for many years since he was a youth with both alcohol and drug addiction and he is separated from his ex-partner with whom he has three daughters.

“He allowed himself to become involved through association because of his new partner and he is not a career burglar. Nobody else falls to be sentenced for this burglary despite DNA being found inside the property.

“He is now back working for the electrical firm where he took his apprenticeship and works in Stoke-on-Trent at a Severn Trent water treatment plant. He had worked for the American forces in a civilian role in Afghanistan before returning to the UK in 2020.”

Recorder Whitehead handed Mulvaney a 15-month jail sentence, suspended for two years, with 100 hours unpaid work, 25 rehabilitation sessions and a six-month drug treatment programme.