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Burglar jailed for attempts to rob house in St John’s Wood and cafe in Maida Vale

PUBLISHED: 16:07 19 July 2017 | UPDATED: 16:07 19 July 2017

An exterior view of Southwark Crown Court in London.

An exterior view of Southwark Crown Court in London.

PA Archive/PA Images

A burglar who tried to force his way into a St John’s Wood house while the owner watched on has been jailed for a year.

James Goldsmith, of Dibdin House, Maida Vale, also broke into the outbuilding of a Maida Vale deli and attempted to force open a safe.

Shortly before 8 pm on 19 May this year, Goldsmith, 42, entered the Grove End Road property through a garden gate. He briefly climbed into a BMW parked at the side of a house before entering a garden shed, where he picked up two laptops and a hammer.

Making his way to the back door of the house, he used the hammer to ‘bang’ on the door, according to testimony given to Southwark Crown Court by Ali Ahmed, the owner of the £7 million home.

“[Mr Ahmed] was making something to eat in the kitchen,” prosecutor Gregor McKinlay told the court. “He saw the defendant trying to get in and then saw the defendant leaving when he wasn’t able to gain access.”

A month previously Goldsmith had broken into an outbuilding in the courtyard of the Baker & Spice, an eatery on Clifton Road in Maida Vale

“The defendant entered the outbuilding and used a spade to cause considerable damage to the front of a safe situated in the outbuilding,” prosecutor McKinlay said.

“Nothing was taken and the defendant was apprehended by DNA swabs taken from the shovel and the handle of the safe.”

Goldsmith was identified from CCTV footage at Mr Ahmed’s house and arrested; he at first offered no comment, but later pleaded guilty to four counts of burglary.

Gerard O’Connor, defending, admitted Goldsmith had an ‘extraordinarily unattractive record’ containing a string of dishonest and drug-related offences.

“He wanders past this property, sees the gates open and cannot resist the urge to wonder in and see what is available for him to take,” he said.

Judge Michael Grieve, QC, acknowledged that his ‘pattern of offending is familiar to these courts’ but saw no alternative to an immediate prison sentence.

“I hope you will avail yourself of the opportunities whilst you are in prison of drugs rehabilitation treatment,” he said.

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