Man jailed for aggravated burglary at family home in Hastings
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A man who broke into a family's home in Hastings while in possession of a knife has been jailed for nine years.
Andrew Larkin, 40, unemployed, of Ninfield Road, Bexhill, entered the property in Brendon Rise around 2.35am on August 2, 2021.
The occupants of the house - a woman and her three daughters - were upstairs at the time. Terrified, they barricaded themselves in a room and dialled 999.
Officers attended, and it was discovered a Nintendo Switch, a wallet containing bank cards and some meat products had been stolen from the address.
CCTV from the property showed a man wearing a bright orange t-shirt and with a playing card tattoo on his forearm entering the property with a knife in his hand. He was identified as Andrew Larkin.
Later the same day, police received a call that Larkin was seen in Hastings town centre selling a Nintendo Switch to another man. A bank card stolen during the burglary was also used at a petrol garage in Sidley - CCTV from the garage later confirmed it was Larkin using the card.
Larkin was arrested and during a search, bank cards belonging to the burglary victims were found, alongside meat products and an orange t-shirt.
He was charged with aggravated burglary and pleaded guilty on 7 January, 2022.
At Lewes Crown Court on February 18, he was sentenced to eight years and five months for the offence and was also given a prison sentence of six months for committing an assault on Christmas Day (25 December) 2020. The judge ordered that the two sentences run concurrently and that Larkin serve nine years in total.
In a victim statement presented to the court, the family spoke of the impact the break-in has had on their lives. It said: "My three daughters no longer feel safe at home and especially at night. My youngest daughter has panic attacks when she hears the slightest noise outside at night. I have noticed that my two other daughters have moved their beds around in the bedroom - they have told me that they do not want to be by the door.
"Every family should feel safe in their home. As a family, we no longer feel safe."
Investigator Caroline Bendell said: "This was a terrifying ordeal for a family who were in the place where they should feel safest - their own home. They were able to dial 999 immediately and thankfully no one was hurt, but the incident has still had a lasting emotional impact on them.
"This is a despicable crime and Larkin has shown absolutely no regard for his victims at all, stealing items from the home that should have been their sanctuary. Thanks to CCTV footage and the vigilance of the public, we were able to apprehend him and build a strong case against him at court."