12 months in jail for burglar

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A BURGLAR who broke into his next door neighbour’s home just days after moving into the street has been jailed.

Billy Lewis, 35, was seen burgling his neighbour’s flat in Melrose Street, Hartlepool, after he smashed a kitchen window to get in.

Police arrived on the scene and saw Lewis run out of the flat, but could not reach him because he was in a locked alleyway.

Officers saw then him go back into his own house next-door and raided his address.

They found a video recorder, a hi-fi box and DVDs which Lewis had stolen in the burglary.

Teesside Crown Court heard how the victim was staying at his parents’ house when Lewis broke in at around 10pm on July 21.

Penny Bottomley, prosecuting, said: “The police attended the property and saw a light on upstairs.

“The defendant came out of the property. The police asked him to stop, but they couldn’t get to him because the defendant was in a gated alleyway.

“The defendant ran off into his own property. Police forced entry and arrested him and the goods were recovered.”

Lewis, who was subject to a suspended prison sentence at the time, admitted burglary. He had been given nine weeks prison, suspended for 12 months in June, for shoplifting.

He was also subject to a curfew but the court heard a monitoring box had not yet been fitted in his house.

Rachel Dyson, mitigating, said Lewis had started taking heroin and committing crimes after previously moving out of town.

She said: “Just a few days before, he had moved back to Hartlepool hoping for a fresh start.

“He was celebrating having his new property and became intoxicated. He is disappointed in himself for committing this offence.”

Lewis was jailed for 12 months for the burglary and another six weeks of the previous suspended sentence was activated.

Judge George Moorhouse said: “You yourself know people who commit burglaries of dwellings are committing a very serious offence which fully justifies a custodial sentence.

“At the time, you were drunk and under the influence of drugs.”