FIne for man who broke into house he had just sold

A man was spotted breaking into his old home after drinking Prosecco wine – just one day after he sold the house.

Lewis Charles Sykes, 26, now of Hillside Brae in Gulberwick, sold his house at Longland, Lerwick in December.

But neighbours were woken in the early hours by the sound of breaking glass, and could see Sykes making his way into the property.

The police were called and attended within a minute, discovering the house had been broken into.

Sykes, a control room operator, initially failed to present himself to officers, and later gave a “cock and bull” story that he was the owner of the house and had lost his keys.

He even showed his driving licence, which had not been changed, to prove his story.

The plan worked, but only until the house’s new owners discovered the damage the following morning and contacted the police.

The offence happened shortly before 3am on 29th December.

At Lerwick Sheriff Court on Wednesday, Sykes admitted wilfully or recklessly smashing a garage window and pane of glass within an external door.

He also admitted pretending to police that he was the owner of the property, even though he no longer lived there.

Procurator fiscal Duncan MacKenzie said: “Neighbours were woken by the sound of breaking glass. They could see the accused breaking into the property.

“Police were called and attended. They found the house in a condition consistent with it having being broken into.”

Mr MacKenzie said Sykes had sold the house and had been out drinking. His explanation was that he was simply looking for somewhere to sleep.

“The new owners hadn’t moved in yet and he thought he would break in and get a bed for the night,” Mr MacKenzie said.

“He initially hid himself in the house, or at least was not presenting himself in a position where he could be seen.

“He gave some cock and bull story about being the owner of the house.”

Defence agent Tommy Allan said Sykes had been drinking after selling the house the day before.

“He had been drinking Prosecco, which was not something he had been used to drinking,” Mr Allan said.

The agent said Sykes could remember little about the incident, adding that he had paid £1,000 to the new house owners for the inconvenience.

“His exact words to me were, ‘they were really good with me, considering’, Mr Allan said. “Although drink is no excuse, it would appear he has taken more than he is normally capable of handling.”

Sheriff Philip Mann fined Sykes £250 for the offence. “This was a really stupid thing to do,” he told the accused.


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