Ex-serviceman burgled fellow veteran's flat

A former serviceman burgled the flat of a friend and fellow military veteran to raise money to buy drugs, a court has heard. Daniel Morris took jewellery of huge sentimental value belonging his friend's partner and also helped himself to his victim's tools.

Swansea Crown Court heard Morris' thievery came to light when the victim went to a second-hand and pawn shop looking to buy a games console and saw his possession for sale in the window. A judge told the 35-year-old defendant he had committed "mean" offences against somebody he should have had "compassion and sympathy" for.

The court heard Morris and his victim lived at the same address in Bernard Street in the Uplands area of Swansea in a building with flats provided by a charity that assists military veterans. Sian Cutter, prosecuting, said each resident in the building had a self-contained flat and there were also communal areas and a communal garage for storage. She said Morris and the victim regarded each other as friends and Morris would often go into the complainant's ground-floor flat – though some of these visits were uninvited. Morris was also often seen going into and out of the communal garage.

READ MORE: TikTok stalker fantasised about abducting and sexually torturing woman

READ MORE: Woman bit boy at popular Welsh music festival

The court heard that in May last year the complainant noticed two socket sets had disappeared from the garage and when he bumped into his friend in one of the communal areas he mentioned the mossing tools. Morris replied: "Who would have done that?" The court heard that around the same time the complainant's partner noticed jewellery – a Clogau Welsh gold ring worth £610 and a gold necklace worth £800 – were missing from their bedroom. The prosecutor said the jewellery had been bought with money from the woman's late mother and were therefore of great sentimental value to her. Miss Cutter said the gold had been hidden under socks in the drawer in the bedroom so whoever had taken the items must have carried out a thorough search of the room.

The court heard that by chance the complainant and his partner visited the ReGenerate shop in Swansea on July 4 looking for a second-hand PlayStation games console to buy when they saw the missing tools in the window. The socket sets were recognisable by marks on the boxes. The couple asked the manager about the tools and whether any jewellery had been brought in. It was confirmed the missing socket sets, necklace, and ring had all been taken to the shop by Morris – a customer the manager knew well – over the preceding weeks and that he had been paid £30, £100, and £70 respectively for the items. The court heard the tools and ring were subsequently returned to their rightful owners but the necklace had already been melted down. For the latest court reports sign up to our crime newsletter here.

Morris was arrested and interviewed and he denied stealing the jewellery from the bedroom saying he had found the necklace on the pavement. He denied being the person caught on camera in the pawn shop but did however admit to taking the socket sets and cashing them in at ReGenerate saying he needed money for drugs.

Daniel Morris, now of Anne's Court, Ebbw Vale, had previously pleaded guilty to burglary, theft, and fraud – selling items to ReGenerate which were not his – when he appeared in the dock for sentencing. He has seven previous convictions for nine offences with the last being possession of an offensive weapon from June 2022 for which he received a nine-month prison sentence.

Andrew Evans, for Morris, said with hindsight the defendant accepted he had committed "mean" offences against someone who was in similar circumstances to himself. He said Morris served a tour of duty in Afghanistan as a teenager and was subsequently discharged from the armed forces following a diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). He said: "One can only speculate about what he saw in Afghanistan at that young age which led to PTSD which has lasted into adult life." The advocate said his client was in receipt of medication for his condition but had chosen to "self-medicate" through alcohol and substance misuse and the offending had been motivated by his need for money to fund that misuse. Mr Evans said whatever the nature of the sentence passed by the court the defendant realised he had not been treating people in the way he should have, was seeking help from alcohol and drugs agencies, and wants to move on with his life.

Judge Paul Thomas KC told Morris he had committed a "mean" offence against a fellow military veteran – somebody he should have had "a degree of compassion and sympathy" for. He told the defendant he should be thoroughly ashamed of himself. With discounts for his guilty pleas Morris was sentenced to 20 months in prison – comprising 18 months for burglary and two months each for theft and for fraud to run concurrently with one another but consecutively with the burglary sentence – suspended for 18 months. He must also complete a rehabilitation course, a thinking skills course, and a 12-month drug rehabilitation programme. The court heard Morris is unfit to do unpaid work and does not have the means to pay compensation.

The judge told Morris the sentence was designed to help him get off drugs and get his life back on track but he warned him if he did not put his back into the requirements attached to the suspended sentence or if he committed any imprisonable offence in the next 18 months he would be brought back to court and would be sent to prison. As the defendant left the dock he told the judge: "I promise you I'm going to change my ways and get better" to which the judge replied: "Don't let me down. More importantly don't let yourself down."

This interactive tool allows you to check the latest crime statistics for your area