Ashley Giles stole belongings from a locker room at a Leeds hospital (Picture: SWNS/Wikimedia Commons)

A ‘predatory’ burglar who stole the belongings of exhausted NHS staff at the height of the coronavirus crisis has been jailed for nearly three years.

Ashley Giles, 25, broke into four staff lockers before he was confronted by a health care worker who had just finished a 12-hour shift, a court heard yesterday.

Leeds Crown Court was told how the woman approached Giles and asked him what he was doing after realising he wasn’t a member of staff at the city’s St James’ Hospital.

Giles, who later suggested he had taken cocaine and heroin at the time of the incident, told the woman he had been ‘reading a newspaper’ before quickly walking away.

After he left, the staff member went back into the room and found her locker had been forced open and her handbag was missing.

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After she alerted security officers, Giles was chased out of the hospital and managed to escape.

But during the pursuit he lost his hat, which contained his DNA, and that led to his arrest.

Appearing in the dock yesterday, Giles, from Leeds, was jailed for 32 months after earlier pleading guilty to burglary.

'Predatory' burglar Ashley Giles stole NHS staff personal belongings from locker room at St James' Hospital in Leeds
The ‘predatory’ burglar stole NHS staff personal belongings from a locker room (Picture: SWNS)

St James' Hospital, Leeds
St James’ Hospital in Leeds (Picture: Wikimedia Commons)

Judge Robin Mairs, sentencing, told the defendant key workers needed to be protected from ‘predatory burglars’ like him.

Judge Mairs said: ‘At the height of the Covic-19 pandemic, a health assistant finished her 12-hour shift and went to the locker room.

‘She was obviously exhausted and wanting to make her way home.

‘She was confronted by you. You had gone in there to steal… from those members of the community who were sacrificing themselves to work for the greater good of the community.’

Judge Mairs continued: ‘You made your way to that locker room. You knew well it was a staff locker room and you knew well from whom you were stealing.

Ashley Giles was jailed for a burglary
Giles was given a 32 month jail sentence (Picture: West Yorkshire Police)

‘Four members of NHS staff would come off their shift to discover their lockers had been emptied of their private belongings.

‘Those who work in the vulnerable settings of our hospitals deserve and will have the protection of our courts.

‘They need protection from predatory burglars such as you.’

The court heard how three other lockers had also been forced open.

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Stephen Welford, mitigating, said Giles committed the offence when he was homeless and needed money to fund his class A drug addiction.

Giles was interviewed about the offence and said he was under the influence of heroin and cocaine at the time and could not recall much about the incident.

The court heard he has criminal convictions dating back to the age of 11 and had previously served jail terms in the past for burglary.

Giles also served a 12-week prison sentence earlier this year for assaulting an emergency worker.

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Source: Metro