September 15, 2020 3.45 pm This story is over 44 months old

Failed businessman burgled house after becoming a homeless alcoholic

He avoided a prison sentence

A former Lincoln businessman who sank into alcoholism and burgled a friend’s home has avoided a prison sentence.

Matthew Webb ran the family business until it was forced to close and then his life fell apart.

Lincoln Crown Court was told that Webb’s relationship ended and he finished up homeless and living on the streets.

In November last year he went to the village of Beckingham, between Grantham and Newark, to visit his grandparents’ grave but then spotted his friend’s partner leaving her home in Rectory Street.

Eunice Opare-Addo, prosecuting, said that Webb broke into the house only for his friend to return home from work.

“The man heard a noise from behind the curtains in the dining room.

“He went to have a look and found the defendant standing there.

“Webb stated that the window was open and he hoped the complainant would lend him some money.

“The defendant had no socks on and informed him the socks were by the conservatory window where he had entered.”

Webb left the house but afterwards two sweet containers were missing along with the £20 worth of coins which were in them.

Webb, 36, of Beaumont Fee, Lincoln, admitted burglary on November 25 last year.

He also admitted seperate charges of taking a JCB forklift truck without consent and driving without insurance in September 2019.

The JCB was left in a field with its key in the ignition and he drove it to Beckingham parking up in a layby.

Sunil Khanna, in mitigation, said: “For many years he was working full-time running the family business with his father. He was in a long-term relationship and in his own home. Things seemed to be going well.

“Unfortunately the relationship began to falter and Mr Webb began to seek solace in drink. It led to him leaving his partner. He began drinking more and was using drugs as well.”

Mr Khanna said the family business closed in 2017 after trading for 60 years and Webb’s life continued to go downhill.

“He became homeless. He had gone from being a successful businessman to being homeless and an alcoholic and living on the streets.”

Mr Khanna said that following Webb’s arrest for the burglary he had started to turn his life around. He obtained accommodation in supported housing and has worked to improve his life.

Webb was given an 18 month community order with 10 rehabilitation activity requirement days, 80 hours of unpaid work and a six month alcohol treatment order. He was also banned from driving for three months.