Burglar jailed for £25,000 wrecking spree at Bilston hairdressers
A cash-strapped unemployed builder, who needlessly caused £25,000 worth of damage while burgling a hairdressers, was starting a two-and-a-half year jail sentence today.
Steven Ferguson had gone straight for a short time after finding work but lost his job when badly scarred by a passing cyclist who slashed his face in an apparently motiveless attack, a judge heard.
The 43-year-old broke into Kamlas Hair and Beauty Salon in Bilston High Street by forcing the rear door 10 minutes before a pall of smoke rose from the building at 6.45am on February 10, Wolverhampton Crown Court was told.
The defendant deliberately set light to a pile of textile material in an unsuccessful bid to destroy evidence that might link him to the break in, said Mr Alex Warren, prosecuting.
Fire crews quickly extinguished the blaze but the cost of the damage both it and Ferguson's ransacking of the address was estimated at £25,000
He smashed mirrors, wrecked fittings and destroyed stock but escaped with just £250 from the till, continued the prosecutor.
Hairdresser Kulwant Badham said in a statement: "I owe money for stock and do not know what to do next. I am really worried about my finances. I am financially devastated."
Mr Tim Sapwell, representing Ferguson, whose previous convictions involved 65 separate offences, said: "He recognises he is too old to live the life his criminal convictions suggest.
"He now has the stabilising influence of a supportive girlfriend with a good job.
"He had found work for himself but whilst going home through a park a cyclist slashed him across the face with a knife as he passed.
"This left him with a distinctive scar across his face and he has not been able to find work since."
This left the defendant short of money and drove him back to his old ways in a bid to get cash, the court heard. He did not bear any malice towards the hairdresser and left traces of his DNA at the scene.
Mr Sapwell concluded: "On his release from prison he wants to move out of the area with his partner and live a law abiding life."
The defendant from Talbot Place, Millfields, Bilston, pleaded guilty to burglary and arson and was sent to prison by Judge Michael Challinor who told him: "The arson was designed to destroy evidence that would link you to the offence. You did more damage than was required.
"The hairdresser was no doubt devastated to see the salon in the way you left it."
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