A HEARTLESS burglar broke into a care home for elderly people suffering with dementia on Christmas Eve and stole a safe containing cash and sentimental jewellery.

Lee Hayes, who has 37 previous convictions for 105 offences, carried out the raid in the Brynglas area of Newport.

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Prosecutor Roger Griffiths told Cardiff Crown Court how the defendant also stole a tablet which contained details relating to patient care.

He read out a victim personal statement from a care home representative which said: “2020 had been a difficult enough year already without a break-in on Christmas Eve.


“This was unforgivable and it has left our staff shocked at such a callous act.

“We are sickened that someone could stoop so low.”

Mr Griffiths said: “The defendant was confronted by a member of staff but she was unable to detain him and he made good his escape.

“The police were called and a dog handler picked up his scent and he was found at the Shell filling station on Malpas Road.”

Officers recovered all the items taken which also included a laptop.

Hayes, 41, of Commercial Street, Newport, pleaded guilty to burglary.

The defendant already had 17 previous convictions and this was his third ‘three strikes’ minimum tariff sentencing appearance.

Julia Cox, mitigating, said although her client’s actions were unforgivable he didn’t know it was a care home.

Judge Jeremy Jenkins told Hayes: “The member of staff who tried to stop you getting away showed great courage and should be commended for her bravery.”

He added: “You are a career criminal in my judgement.

“The good news is, you’re not a very good one.

“You keep getting caught and you don’t seem to learn from your experiences.

“The staff at the care home have been sickened that someone could stoop to such a level.”

The defendant was jailed for four years and ordered to pay a victim surcharge after his release from prison.