TWO burglars who targeted a business that was trying to ‘reinvigorate’ an area of Portland have been jailed.

Remi Mathurin, 22, and Shane Jackson, 24, were both sentenced to a year’s imprisonment after pleading guilty to burglary at Dorchester Crown Court.

The court heard that the pair had attempted to steal thousands of pounds worth of cigarettes from Castletown Stores on Portland.

It was the second time in eight days the business had fallen victim to a break-in, the court heard, though the first incident was not connected to Mathurin and Jackson.

Judge Roger Jarvis said: “Castletown has been described as a place which has sadly not got the vigour that at one time it did have and it is a matter of considerable gratitude from the community to the owner of this store that she took it on and worked hard, subsidising its continuing function through funds she was earning from separate employment.

“The consequence of the burglary has been devastating.”

Prosecuting, Anita Gibson-Lee said a neighbour called the police after she heard banging and saw someone in the shop at around 10.30pm on February 27.

The defendants ran off when officers arrived, but were caught after a short chase through Castletown and arrested.

Cigarettes worth around £4,500 had been bagged up in the store to be taken away by the burglars, Miss Gibson-Lee added.

In mitigation for Jackson, Nick Robinson said the youngster, of no fixed abode, had committed the offence after being released from prison on other matters and being evicted from his family home.

Mr Robinson said: “He had made a concerted effort to be a law-abiding citizen.

“He was struggling to make ends meet and was living on the streets.

“He is deeply contrite and ashamed of his behaviour.”

Jennifer Allen, representing Mathurin, said the defendants had been driving around the area in a hired van with no destination in mind and the burglary had happened ‘spontaneously’.

Mathurin, a landscape gardener, was willing to offer compensation to his victims and was ‘very remorseful’ for what had happened, Miss Allen added.

The cost to repair a broken door where the pair gained entry, and to repair CCTV equipment, came to £931, the court heard.

Judge Jarvis said that because the defendants were both jailed, compensation requests would be a matter to be dealt with after their release from prison.

He added: “Everyone knows Castletown is not the sort of place one passes through.

“The consequence for the owner is continuing anxiety, stress and worry, and she is considering closing down the shop that was a real asset to the community.”