A FORMER haulage business owner has been jailed for burgling a house of goods worth more than £17,000 while the occupants slept upstairs.

John Harrison, 41, of Berkeley Gardens, Leigh, who had been sent a good luck message as he set off for his raid on May 2, admitted theft and burgling the five-bedroom detached house in Woodlands Park, Leigh.

Harrison, who appeared at Southend Crown Court, has battled drug and alcohol addiction and suffers from depression.

He got in through a garage door and stole golf clubs and items including a PlayStation, laptops and a handbag. He also took keys to the homeowner’s Volkswagen Golf, worth £11,000, which he also stole.

Police spotted Harrison walking down the street in the early hours of the morning with a blue container holding some of the loot, plus a penknife and a headtorch, and arrested him. They later found a silver Nokia phone with a text wishing him good luck. The message read: “Good luck. Be careful but be lucky. God knows we need it.

“If you don’t have any joy getting in anywhere good in the next two hours, do what we usually say and come home because you say there’s no point in being out all night being useless tomorrow if it’s for nothing.

Love you.”

Charlotte Davison, prosecuting, said: “The text message clearly shows this was a planned enterprise.”

The court heard Harrison had previously stolen CCTV equipment worth £150 from a shed last May and was put on a community order which he broke by stealing CDs and DVDs last October. He was put on another order which he also broke for failing to attend appointments.

MatthewBone, mitigating, said this was probably to fuel his drug and alcohol addiction. He said: “This isaman with a pretty good start in life. He had opportunities to play golf professionally, was offered a scholarship to do with basketball training in the USA.

“For many years he led a lawabiding life. Between 2002 and 2013, there were no offences committed and he was operating a very successful haulage company.

“He battled with alcohol, drugs and depression which have brought him to this lowest point in his life.”

Judge Derek Schofield sentenced Harrison to 20 months in prison, and to serve a minimum of ten. He was ordered to pay a £100 victim surcharge. The judge said as the burglary was planned and two community orders had been broken, he had to impose an immediate custodial sentence.