Gas leaked as burglar made off with boiler at hostel for homeless men, in Leicester
Six frightened residents awoke to a strong smell of gas in their hostel after a burglar made off with a combi-boiler, a court heard.
Sukhwinder Singh – who was jailed for two years yesterday – was involved in ripping out the boiler, which damaged the gas pipes and risked lives.
Leicester Crown Court heard he wanted to sell the boiler to get money for drugs.
Police and firefighters were alerted as The Haven hostel for homeless men, in Evington Street, Leicester, was evacuated at 6.30am on April 18.
Business Cards From Only £10.95 Delivered www.myprint-247.co.ukView details
Contact: 01858 468192
Valid until: Wednesday, May 22 2013
Singh (40) had also committed a second break-in at an unoccupied premises in Coral Street, Belgrave, stealing another boiler, the previous night.
On that occasion, the gas was turned off.
Singh admitted committing both burglaries.
He also admitted damaging the pipework, being reckless as to whether lives would be endangered at the hostel, which is run by Action Homeless.
Singh, of Wharf Street South, in the city centre, accepted he was present when the offence was carried out, but claimed he did not cut the gas pipes.
However, his blood was found on the pipework at the hostel, and his DNA was also detected at the property in Coral Street.
In mitigation, the court heard that Singh's offending was linked to a heroin addiction at the time.
He has been on remand in custody since his arrest in May.
Sentencing, Recorder Robert Egbuna said: "The burglary at Evington Street was particularly serious because there were six occupants in the house who woke up to the smell of gas. I don't need to spell out to you the fear they must have felt at the time.
"These offences are too serious for anything other than a prison sentence."