BURGLARS who thought no-one was at home when they smashed their way into a detached home were in for a shock when they came face-to-face with the family’s Great Dane.
The dog bounded outside after the men smashed a patio door with a brick and one of them cut his hand on the broken glass, Teesside Crown Court was told.
Michael Casey, 50, who was tracked down by his DNA after he left a blood trail in a bedroom, told police that he took the giant pet back inside.
Casey, who had 41 convictions for 80 offences including earlier burglaries, was jailed for 19 months after spending four months in prison awaiting sentence.
Casey, who had problems with drink and drugs, had been receiving help while locked up from Alcoholics Anonymous and he had vowed to continue with them on his release, said Martin Scarborough , mitigating.
Prosecuting, Harry Hadfield said yesterday that the home owner and his family had left their Great Dane alone at their property in Hart Station, Hartlepool, before 9am on March 18.
When his daughter returned that afternoon the alarm had been set off and when other family members returned they found that the back gate had been kicked open and a brick had been thrown through the patio door causing £300 damage.
The lock to the garage was missing and the door had been lifted but nothing had been taken.
There was blood on the bedroom floor which later matched Casey’s DNA and when the owner checked he discovered that jewellery worth £590 and £200 cash was missing from a chest of drawers.
Casey was arrested because of his DNA match 10 days later on March 28 and he made no comment throughout his interview.
Mr Scarborough said that when Casey was in custody he agreed to give a DNA sample to the police.
He pleaded guilty a week later when he was advised that the blood match was sufficient evidence against him.
Mr Scarborough added: “The dog got out and he took it back in.
“He accepted he was responsible with associates.
“He seems to have shown some determination while in prison for four months because he had been working with Alcoholics Anonymous and he wants to continue working with them when he is released.”
Judge Howard Crowson told Casey, of Annandale Crescent, Hartlepool, that the blood trail left inside the property was a very distressing matter for the family.