Blind Burglar Jailed For His 192nd Offence
A blind burglar has been jailed for his 192nd offence after leading police on a chase from school raid into a river.
Paul Anthony Gibson, 55, is registered blind but has a degree of partial vision which enables him to walk using a stick.
But Carlisle Crown Court heard last Friday how his terrible eyesight has not stopped him raking up a string of 191 previous criminal offences.
Last August 24th Cumbria Police were alerted to a break-in at the now derelict residential school Eden Grove, near Appleby.
They caught Gibson red-handed but he jumped into a river and tried in vain to escape officers by wading half-blind through the water.
Now he has been jailed for five months after admitting burglary and resisting a police officer.
Prosecutor Sarah Magill told the court how officers caught the blind scrap metal thief red-handed stealing pipes from the boarded-up old school.
Ms Magill said: “A police officer attended the property following reports of criminal damage and burglary.
“The building was in some state of disrepair and had been vandalised.”
At the entrance, the officer found a pile of metal along with seven hacksaw blades, a lantern and a holdall.
“Within the property they found the defendant, who was carrying an armful of metal pipes,” said Ms Magill.
When tackled, Gibson claimed: “The owner said I could have what I wanted.”
Gibson resisted attempts to apply handcuffs and jumped over a nearby bridge in a bid to hide. Police tried to apprehend him.
“This involved wading through the river,” Ms Magill said.
Ian Hudson, defending, said Gibson was registered blind, and homeless at the time following a prison release.
He said: “He had entered through an open entrance and the building was already badly damaged.
“None of it (the damage) falls at his doorstep because the Crown have absolutely no proof it was him.”
Judge Tony Lancaster heard the defendant, of Swinton, Manchester, was registered blind and had 191 previous offences to his name.
Of those 191 offences, 54 were for theft or similar dishonesty-style crimes.