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'My home next door' shock for burglary victim

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: September 06, 2012

A burglary victim returned from holiday to find the entire contents of his flat had been taken by a neighbour and installed in the next door building.

Shocked Steven Smith found burglar Ben Fone sleeping in his king-sized bed which he had moved bodily from one flat in Torquay to the other – along with his bedding, DVDs, television and washing machine.

The victim was left with a sense of déjà vu as he looked around Fone's room and realised almost everything inside was his property, Exeter Crown Court was told.

When he was seen lugging his loot into his new home he claimed he had found the £3,000 worth of property in a skip.

Fone, aged 23, admitted the burglary at the house next to his at Upton Road, Torquay, in July last year and was jailed for nine months, suspended for two years and ordered to receive drug rehabilitation as part of a 12-month supervision order.

Judge Francis Gilbert, QC, told him: "You were staying in Torquay when you broke into a neighbour's flat, damaging the doors as you did so.

"You then trashed the flat, damaging the fixtures and fittings and stole electrical goods and other items which you took into the flat where you were staying. You even took a king-sized bed, so clearly somebody must have helped you."

Miss Janice Eagles, prosecuting, said victim Mr Smith was away for a week when he learned of the break-in from his landlord.

She said: "He was shocked and startled to find a large number of items from his flat at the next door house, including his own bed and sheets.

"Mr Smith confronted Fone and there was shouting between them. He was clearly upset but Fone denied the burglary."

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