A PAIR of hapless burglars carried out a smash-and-grab raid on a Hartlepool home to steal a wad of £50 notes – which turned out to be worthless novelty paper tissues.
Michael Hogg, 33, broke a window at the house, in Tunstall Avenue, while his partner in crime Andrew Wood kept a lookout.
The householder, a retired man, was asleep upstairs but was woken up by the sounds of banging and voices.
When he went downstairs to investigate he discovered the broken window and the packet of novelty tissues, which had been on the windowsill, lying on the floor.
Hogg and Wood, 28, who the resident spotted on his drive, were arrested as they tried to flee the scene after an alert neighbour called the police.
They were jailed for more than seven years after they pleaded guilty to the August 5 burglary at Teesside Crown Court.
Judge Simon Bourne-Arton said both were persistent criminals and the public needed to be protected from them.
Matthew Collins, mitigating for Hogg, said: “It is an offence borne more out of stupidity than involving any significant planning.
“He saw what he thought in his deprived state was money. It turned out to be tissues which had a £50 note printed on it.
“He walked away feeling very stupid. He realises the effect it has had on the victim.””
In a victim impact statement, read in court, the resident, who has lived in the house for almost 30 years, said he had been the victim of burglars twice in the past and also had his car broken into.
Hogg’s long record included 40 convictions for 61 offences including other house burglaries.
Wood’s was even worse with 73 convictions for 144 offences.
Ian Mullarkey, mitigating for Wood, said: “He was the lookout effectively. He played a secondary role.”
Hogg, of Stephen Street, Hartlepool, was jailed for three years and four months, while Wood, of Grange Road, was locked up for three years and nine months.
Judge Simon Bourne-Arton said: “Both of you have very bad records indeed.
“You are persistent offenders and it’s got to the stage with both your cases when the public are required to be protected from your offences.”