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10 August 2011, 13:16
Two men who broke into the family home of Arsenal and England footballer Theo Walcott while he was playing for his club in a Champions League game were each jailed for 3 years and nine months today (Wednesday August 10th).
At the time of the break in in February of this year the player's parents and their other son had left the large detached luxury property in Hertfordshire to go and watch the player in Arsenal's home game against Barcelona.
It meant that after breaking into the the £2 million pound house through a conservatory window, Kevin wood, 32, and Ryan Lee, 23, were able to help themselves to £40,000 worth of property including a VW Gold car which was parked on the driveway.
Later that night and after the match which Arsenal won 2-1, Theo Walcot's parents. Donald and Lynn and older brother Ashley returned to the house on the edge of Hemel Hempstead in Herts to find it had been ransacked and the car gone.
Today at Luton crown court Judge Michael Baker QC told the pair "You two most likely with others targeted the Walcott's home and planned and executed a burglary on it after dark."
He said the damage to the house that night had caused "huge upset" to the family who felt their home had been violated. "Planned night time burglaries of people's homes are serious offences," he told the pair.
Lee of Sandycroft Road Amersham, Bucks and Wood of Shrubhill Road, Hemel Hempstead were found guilty by a jury on Tuesday of the burglary at the three storey luxury 12 roomed mansion home.
Duing a week long trial the court heard how on the evening of February 16 this year the young player was in a Champions League game against Barcelona at the Emirates Stadium in North London.
The house, where his parents and brother lived was surrounded by a high wall and that night was empty after they had gone to watch him play.
The house had an alarm but it wasn't set because two pet dogs were inside the property.
That evening as the game was being played Lee and Wood broke in and systematically went through the house taking a lap top computer, watches and jewellery. They also found the keys the car which was driven by Ashley and drove off in it.
But it only ad enough petrol to travel 10 miles and not long afterwards the pair were caught on CCTV filling up a petrol can.
Then at 6.15am the next morning the Gof was captured on CCTV cameras at the same garage forecourt in White Lion Road, Amersham. Wood was seen to get out and fill the car with petrol.
In the break in Wood had left behind the sole pattern of one of his Nike trainers on the conservatory window sill.
After his arrest he was found to have a trainers with the same pattern.
Sally Mealing-McLeod prosecuting said the car worth £25,000 and the £15,000 worthy of property has never been recovered.
Daryl Cherrett for Wood who had 25 previous convictions going back to 1996 said he had recently become a father to a baby girl and was now determined to change his ways.
Miss Catherine brown for Lee who also had 25 previous conviction, said he too was now determined to rehabilitate himself, find employment and settle down.