A BURGLAR ransacked a Southampton woman’s home and made off with her £30,000 jewellery collection.

Wesley Wilson broke into the home while his victim, a solicitor, was in London.

He bundled the expensive jewellery, including a £17,000 engagement ring, into a pillow case and escaped before she returned.

The 29-year-old appeared at Southampton Crown Court where he was jailed for four years by judge Peter Henry.

The court heard how Wilson broke into the property in The Dell by forcing a window.

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Prosecutor Robert Griffiths told the court how Wilson ransacked the woman’s home to find her valuables.

He said: “When she retuned, she noticed the window was broken and there had been an untidy search of the property.

“There were things strewn across her bed.

“Most significantly, she noticed her jewellery collection was missing.”

Mr Griffiths said among the stolen items were a £5,000 watch, from luxury Swiss brand Breitling, an 18 carat white gold ring, worth more than £2,000, and a set of white gold sapphire and diamond earrings worth more than £1,500.

He said: “There were items she had collected over 20 years from earning money working as a solicitor.”

Mr Griffiths said the stress of the burglary had caused the woman to suffer a number of asthma attacks, some of which had caused her to be admitted to hospital.

He added that Wilson was caught after detectives found his DNA at the scene, while Wilson’s electronic tag, imposed as part of his bail conditions, had shown him to be away from his property during the period in which the burglary took place.

Defending Christopher Gaiger said Wilson had been a long-term drug user and had turned to burglary after running up debts with dealers.

He said: "There were threats made to his family members.”

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Mr Gaiger said Wilson, who admitted the burglary, had also owned up to four other offences, including burglaries, which he asked the court to take into consideration.

He said Wilson, of Orion Close, Southampton, wanted a “clean slate”.

In sentencing, Judge Peter Henry said: “This woman had spent over 20 years collecting this jewellery, which to her was not only worth a lot of money but some of it also had sentimental value as well.

“You stole £30,000 of jewellery, which is a very significant amount.”