A LEAMINGTON woman was left heartbroken after burglars stole a necklace which had been handed down from her great-grandmother to her grandmother, her late mother and then to her.
And a judge at Coventry Crown Court heard the intruders also took two cameras with pictures on them which had not yet been downloaded.
Sean McGregor, 22, of Masters Road, Leamington, was jailed for two years after pleading guilty to the burglary and asking for three more and an attempted burglary to be considered.
Laura Culley, prosecuting, said in March a woman and her partner went away for the weekend.
When they returned they found their home in Shrubland Street, had been broken into by intruders who had got in by smashing the dining room window with a brick.
Among the property stolen was a tablet the woman had received as a Christmas present, items of jewellery including a blue sapphire ring she had bought in Sri Lanka, and two cameras containing photos which had not yet been downloaded.
But the most distressing loss was a 1920s necklace which had been handed down by her great-grandmother to her grandmother, then to her mother and then to her.
And Judge Philip Gregory observed that in her statement the victim said: “It was the only piece of jewellery I had which was my mother’s who had died when I was in my 20s.
“This necklace was priceless to me, and after the burglary I found it very hard to face the world.”
Miss Culley said McGregor’s involvement came to light after the victim had contacted a local pawnbroker and described the property that had been stolen.
And when McGregor went into the shop a few days later to try to sell the sapphire ring and other items, a member of staff recognised the description and the police were contacted.
Following his arrest more items were found at McGregor’s home, as well as property from other burglaries.
But the precious necklace and the cameras have never been recovered, said Miss Culley.
She added that McGregor, who confessed to three other burglaries and an attempted burglary after being remanded in custody, had previous convictions, but none for burglary.
Michael Stradling, defending, said: “His main mitigation is his guilty plea. He describes himself as being outside acting as the lookout.”
But jailing McGregor, Judge Gregory told him: “In March this year you were acting as a professional burglar. You carried out four dwelling house burglaries and you attempted to carry out a fifth.
“The jewellery had value in terms of cash, and immense value in terms of sentimental value.
“But neither you nor your associates cared tuppence about that; you were just seeking an easy way to obtain cash.”