A SERIAL criminal attempted to burgle a Christchurch home which he had previously stolen a sentimental ring from.

Allan Craig Cunningham, 38, tried to gain access to the property in the middle of the day when its residents were out.

After he failed to get into the Bridge Street home via the back doors, he left the area. A judge described his explanation for being there as “frankly ludicrous”.

Cunningham, of Millfield, Poole, was jailed at Bournemouth Crown Court for four years and four months on May 4.

This was after he was found guilty at a trial earlier this year of the attempted burglary.

He admitted two counts of assault by beating, aggravated vehicle taking without consent, driving while disqualified, driving without insurance and possession of a bladed article domestic incident in August 2020.

In relation to the attempted burglary, prosecuting, Stephenie Painter said a neighbour saw the defendant loitering around the house in the early afternoon on July 11, 2020, before he entered the garden and tried to open both sets of back doors.

The court heard Cunningham “seemed to suggest he had no recollection of the incident”, while in his defence statement he claimed he was at the property to apologise to the victim and check the ring he previously stole had been returned.

Judge Stephen Climie told the defendant: “It is a property you knew full well from a previous burglary.

“Your defence was frankly ludicrous.”

Bournemouth Echo: Allan Craig CunninghamAllan Craig Cunningham

Referencing a victim personal statement, Ms Painter said the attempted burglary had left the victims “extremely cautious”, with them checking and double checking doors and windows are secure when out.

This included locking the back door when doing work in the garden, the court heard.

Ms Painter said on August 31 police were called to an address in Poole by the defendant’s then step daughter after Cunningham had attacked her mother. after he physically assaulted his then partner and step daughter. He drove off in the former’s car and was eventually stopped by police. Officers searched the vehicle and found a large knife.

The court heard he had 36 previous convictions for 72 offences, including multiple burglaries.

Rob Griffiths, mitigating, said the courts had given him chances in the past but his client had now identified his issues.


He added: “He is not wasting his time (in custody) and he is starting to recognise his difficulties and the need to address them.

“It is down to him now to make the changes accordingly.”

Judge Climie issued a six-year restraining order and handed Cunningham a three-year driving ban, which will run from when he is released from prison.

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