A burglar who left his victims so upset that they had to move was jailed for three years at Lincoln Crown Court on Friday.
James Alan Preston, 22, of no fixed address was told by Judge Stuart Rafferty QC that he deserved a “significant” prison sentence for the offence.
Preston admitted charges of burglary and handling stolen property arising out of raids that took place in Ruskington during February and March of this year.
He was given a three year jail sentence for burglary with a 12 month concurrent sentence for handling stolen goods.
The judge, passing sentence, told Preston: “You have an increasingly serious record. The time has come for a significant sentence to be imposed upon you.
“In this case an elderly couple went away on holiday and came home to find that you and whoever was with you had ruined their lives forever.
“You didn’t care about them or what they would find. You ransacked their home.
“Items of huge sentimental value were taken. Irreplaceable items.
“Your victim describes his home as being smashed to pieces by people using hammers.
“They had lived there for the majority of their lives. They cannot live there again.”
Roxanne Aisthorpe, defending, said Preston was originally from the Coventry area but moved to Lincolnshire to be near to the mother of his child.
She told the court: “He was working in roofing but he is now not working and on ESA due to mental health issues.
“He is currently receiving counselling from the mental health team at Lincoln Prison. He has taken to self-harming.
“He is having problems within the prison but also outside. His father has been diagnosed with cancer.”