A true life Grinch from Warminster has been jailed for breaking into a neighbour’s home on Christmas Day and stealing the tree and presents.
Jason Baker had been drinking at a pub before he carried out the raid which was in revenge for a long standing parking dispute.
He staggered home carrying the top half of the Christmas tree, complete with lights, and leaving the rest tipped over amid a heap of broken baubles.
The young couple were out visiting their family with their 18-month-old twins and returned to find their home at Spreyton, near Okehampton, Devon, ransacked.
The break-in ruined the family’s Christmas and meant the twins had to spend the night with their grandparents while victims Victoria Martin Worth and Gavin Brimacombe tidied up the mess.
Baker, working at a KFC in Plymouth at the time, was found with the stolen tree at his home a few yards away, along with food from the neighbour’s kitchen and the television from their living room, Exeter Crown Court was told.
Baker, aged 41, of Cherry Orchard, Codford, Warminster, admitted burglary and was jailed for 16 months by Judge Phillip Wassall.
The judge told him:”You had been drinking on Christmas Day. You left the pub and went to sort out a parking dispute and with the premises empty you decided to break in rather than sort it out by speaking to them.
“You caused emotional harm and stole items out of revenge for the parking issues rather than for financial gain. You took part of the Christmas tree, including the lights and left baubles smashed on the floor.
“You ransacked the place and emptied drawers so when this couple returned with their young children they found it in that state. One can understand the trauma it caused them on Christmas Day.
“You caused greater harm because of the distress, particularly to the children, on Christmas Day and to say you ruined the family’s Christmas is probably an understatement.”
Miss Janice Eagles, prosecuting, said the young couple and their twins had been enjoying Christmas together at their home in Chapel Park, Spreyton, and had gone to visit their families in the afternoon.
She said:”They returned at about 6 pm and Miss Martin Worth opened the front door and saw the Christmas tree had fallen over and the television was missing.
“She realised they had been burgled and alerted her partner who was parking the car and the police were called. They found Baker at a property behind that of the victims. He was intoxicated and obstructive.
“Officers spotted an extra large North Face jacket which Baker said was his, despite him being of small build and the police found other items and food which had been taken in the burglary.
“They also found the top two feet of the artificial Christmas tree, which had been the family’s tree and which he had removed complete with lights and ornaments.
“The losers said the burglar had not only taken their property but also trashed their home and described finding the remains of the tree with broken baubles on the floor.
“They said their Christmas and Boxing Day were ruined and their twins had to go and stay with the family and they were upset not to be home at Christmas.
“The items stolen may not have been of very great value but they had great sentimental value because of their association with Christmas and the associated ransacking of the house and destruction of the tree caused trauma to this young family.”
Mr Greg Richardson, defending, said Baker had overcome drink and drug problems and was working at a KFC in Plymouth but had lost his job because of his arrest.
He said:”He normally does not drink but fell into temptation on Christmas Day and as a result of one drinking session he now faces imprisonment.”