A MAN who broke in to a shielding person’s home and stole £350 in cash and Swansea City season tickets claimed his fingerprints were at the scene as he had closed an open window out of concern for the occupant.

Alexander Gooding admitted to the probation service that he had been a “blatant liar” during the period when he burgled a house in Pembroke Dock and attempted to blame someone else in his police interviews.

Prosecutor Sian Cutter told Swansea Crown Court that Gooding’s victim is 51 years old, and had been shielding during the coronavirus pandemic.

On the evening of February 21, 2022, he left a living room window “slightly open” as he went to bed to improve the air flow to help with his breathing.

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Ms Cutter said the victim woke up during the night and noticed a light was on. He didn’t think anything of it, but in the morning discovered tobacco was missing, as well as a tobacco tin, a wallet containing £350, two season tickets for Swansea City and a bank card.

The police found prints on the windowsill, one of which matched the defendant’s right palm. Footprints at the scene were also analysed and compared to the defendant’s trainers.

Gooding, of Deer Park View in Stackpole, was arrested in Pembroke Dock on February 24, 2022. His home address was searched and the tobacco tin was found.

“He claimed he’d never been in the flat,” Ms Cutter said.

“He said there was an occasion in the past he had walked past, seen the window open, and closed it out of concern for the occupant.”

However, it was pointed out to him that his prints were found on the inside of the windowsill.

Gooding told the police that he hadn’t been in the property, but had walked past it with another person – who was wearing his trainers at the time.

“He said the person he was with gave him the tobacco tin,” Ms Cutter said.

Officers tracked down the other person, who was known to the police, and he confirmed this was not true.

Gooding, who has four previous convictions for 14 offences, admitted burglary at a plea and trial preparation hearing in January.

The defendant had been interviewed a second time last February, and Ms Cutter said there had been a delay in receiving forensic evidence and in tracking down the person who Gooding had attempted to shift the blame on to.

The incident, she said, had left the victim “feeling very unsafe” in his own home.

Jon Tarrant, in mitigation, said: “During the probation interview there was a clear admission of remorse.”

Mr Tarrant said that 31-year-old Gooding had been released from prison in September, and since then had showed “his determination to address his addiction issues”.

He said that the defendant acknowledged the impact his actions would have had on the victim.

Sentencing Gooding, Judge Huw Rees said: “This happened during a period of your life when you had as your primary concern the acquisition of drugs.

“You candidly describe yourself as a blatant liar at this point. You even pointed the finger at an innocent man.

“The court has given you opportunity after opportunity.

“It is unrealistic to say, in my opinion, that you have a realistic prospect of rehabilitation.”

He sentenced Gooding to 18 months in prison.