A burglar who befriended a vulnerable man then abused his good nature by breaking into his home in the middle of the night to steal cash.

Jeffery Fogerty, from Truro, was before Truro Crown Court for sentencing after pleaded guilty to domestic burglary and possession of a class A drug, in what the judge described as a “particularly unpleasant offence.”

His victim said he no longer felt safe in his own home, adding: “I feel I can’t trust anyone anymore.”

Having initially denied the offence, the 34-year-old changed his plea at a court hearing to arrange his trial.

Prosecutor Harriet Summerhayes told the court that Fogerty’s victim was a man with various health conditions, most notably Parkinson’s.

The pair came to know each other when Fogerty started cleaning the man’s windows.

Such was his generosity of spirit, that when Fogerty said he had been kicked out of his house, the man allowed Fogerty to live with him for five or six months.

Ms Summerhayes said it was around this time that the victim’s daughter, who had power of attorney, started to notice some “unexpected financial transactions” – including a £1,000 withdrawal in 2021.

Fogerty was asked to leave the house and the police were notified, although nothing came of this.

The man did not hear from Fogerty again until June 2023, when he was contacted on Facebook.

In November the man asked Fogerty where his £1,000 was, and gave his payment details – but no payment took place.

Then in December last year Fogerty turned up at the house, and the man invited him in for a chat.

He was shown what he thought was Fogerty’s bank account, with the defendant saying he would transfer £500 as partial payment and carry out work for the rest.

However, the transfer was unsuccessful and Fogerty promised to get the cash and left.

But at 1am that night, the victim awoke to find the defendant in his bedroom – Fogerty claiming he got in through an unlocked door that the man was sure he had locked.

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Fogerty was crouching by the wardrobe, where the man usually kept a bag containing his wallet, but by coincidence he had been writing Christmas cards that evening and so it was moved.

The defendant went into another part of the house before leaving, with the man later realising his bag was missing. He tried unsuccessfully to stop his cards with the bank before contacting his daughter.

In the meantime, the defendant used the bank card to withdraw £250 from a supermarket in Newquay and then made three further attempts to withdraw a total of £700, but having raised suspicion with the bank, the card was cancelled. The £250 was subsequently reimbursed to the man.

Fogerty later returned the bag and when asked about his actions he initially remained silent, before suggesting to the man’s son-in-law that he had been given permission to withdraw the money.

When arrested, police found a bag containing 0.06g of cocaine on Fogerty.

Falmouth Packet: Jeffery FogertyJeffery Fogerty (Image: Devon and Cornwall Police)

In a victim impact statement, the man said he had been having trouble sleeping and was unable to settle, adding: “I no longer feel it is a safe space.”

He said he checked his doors were locked multiple times a day and wrote: “I feel like I’m always on alert and can’t relax.”

The man said after the incident his Parkinson’s symptoms were so exacerbated that he had difficulty eating or drinking because he was shaking so much.

“I really wanted to help Jeff and I hoped he had his life back on track. I’m sad and disappointed he hasn’t.

“He has made me untrusting of others and I feel I can’t trust anyone anymore,” he said.

Speaking on behalf of Fogerty, Robin Smith said the defendant was ready to go to prison and had told police “I want to change my life.”

Mr Smith said there were drink and drug issues that Fogerty knew he had to address.

Judge Simon Carr told Fogerty: “There is no doubt whatsoever you abused his hospitality. You returned to the property and you took that opportunity to unlock the back door, I have no doubt, in what was already a planned burglary.

“You returned in the early hours, for this man to find you in his bedroom – he would have been terrified.

“This is a particularly unpleasant offence.”

He sentenced Fogerty to two years in prison, of which he must serve half before being released on licence.