A NEWTOWN man with an “appalling” criminal record has been jailed after he burgled an elderly couple’s home while they slept.

Michael Gary Simmons, 33, was caught out after he was captured on Ring doorbell footage provided by the local neighbourhood watch coordinator in the St Mary’s Close area of town.

At Caernarfon Crown Court on Thursday, August 3, Judge Niclas Parry jailed the father-of-three for two years and eight months.

The offence occurred in the early hours of April 16 this year, with police alerted after a local resident, who is also the local Neighbourhood Watch co-ordinator, captured footage of a male trying to enter her property.

“St Mary’s Close is part of a residential estate in Newtown, with many properties occupied by elderly and vulnerable tenants,” said prosecutor Alexa Carrier.


“During the early hours of March 26 and April 2, a resident's Ring doorbell alerted her to a male trying her front door handle. It was locked and he was unable to get access. He was in dark clothing with his face covered.

“Just before 3am on April 16 the same thing happened. She contacted police and DC Steven Williams arrived around 3.30am. As he walked around the estate he noticed a ground floor flat with a light on and the patio door ajar.

“He saw movement inside and a male who matched the description from the Ring doorbell. Other officers arrived and a containment area was put up around the property.

“A short time later the male came out of the patio doors, carrying a light-coloured bag. He ran off down a wet grass bank, slipped and dropped the bag. The officer gave chase but the defendant ran into the town centre and lost the officer on Back Lane.”

Ms Carrier said the bag dropped by the male contained four Rotary watch boxes, tobacco pouches, a Nintendo Switch game and a gold-coloured piggy bank – with Simmons’ fingerprints found on one of boxes and the piggybank.

Ms Carrier continued: “Both the residents were at home in bed when the burglary took place - thankfully there was no confrontation."

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She said Simmons, who was arrested days later, has a “bad record” for dishonesty. This includes two offences of burglary, while in 2017 he was handed a five-year prison sentence for possessing cocaine and MDMA with intent to supply.

Representing the defendant, Rosemary Proctor, painted Simmons as a product of his environment – someone who had been using and selling drugs since he was a child.

She said: “He has struggled in prison previously. He views the world as harmful, he takes drugs as he says he can’t cope without them and they fill the empty void. His is a very sad history.”

She said there are things that offer hope, such as the fact he has previously gained qualifications and completed bricklaying, joinery and welding courses while in prison.

“It is difficult for someone who’s been involved in the drugs world since the age of 11 not to go back to that world, which he has lived in most of his life,” said Ms Proctor.

County Times:

Of the offence, she said: “The victims were not targeted on the basis of their vulnerability; it was an opportunistic offence. He went inside the first place whose door opened.

“He is living in a cycle; he gets out of prison, resolves to make the best of it but is drawn back in after finding life difficult on the outside.

“He wants to live a decent and lawful life. He tells me when he gets out he wants it to be for good. He has three children, including a newborn daughter.”

Judge Parry, jailing Simmons, told him: “You are a local man, you know the area, you would have known what type of people live there. Vulnerable people, including the elderly.

“You went when these people were asleep. People were in their beds.

“The offence is aggravated by your appalling record over two decades, including robbery, burglary and a serious drugs conviction.”

Simmons will spend half of his sentence in prison and the other half on licence. He has been inside since his arrest and those days will count towards his sentence.