A SERIAL burglar who was nabbed by Cleveland Police’s helicopter was jailed for three and a half years.
Anthony Middleton, 47, who had nine previous convictions for house burglaries, was spotlighted hiding in a garden a couple of doors away from his latest victim.
Middleton, who had 60 convictions for 135 offences also including seven for non-dwelling burglaries and 70 for theft, had crashed through two garden fences in his bid to escape, and the police charged him with £55 criminal damage.
Prosecutor Paul Lee told Teesside Crown Court that Middleton ransacked the house in Brenda Road, Hartlepool, on December 11 stealing jewellery and credit cards and he left bloodstains from a cut hand which led to a DNA link.
The police recovered property when they hauled him out of the garden.
Middleton was inside the house when the wife returned home with her 14-year-old daughter.
She saw a light burning in the kitchen and they could not get inside because Middleton had put on the security chain.
The woman said in a Victim Impact statement read in court: “The incident has left me angry and nervous.
“I am frightened to leave my daughter in the house alone. I am upset someone has trashed my house.”
Mr Lee said that Middleton left blood around the house including on a pillowcase.
Andrew Teate, defending, said that Middleton appreciated that there must be an immediate custodial sentence.
He was drunk after an argument with his partner, and he was also seriously upset because his son was serving a life sentence for an attack and he felt responsibility for not being a better role model.
Mr Teate added: “His life spiralled out of control when he himself came out of prison and he found that his stepfather had died.
“He said that he did not plan to commit the burglary that night. He cut himself earlier climbing through a broken window at home.”
Judge Peter Bowers told Middleton: “You are a four-strikes burglar since before 2000.
“You had made as very messy search and the victims were obviously upset by what had taken place.
“In many respects the only way that people can be protected from you is when you are locked up. Otherwise you have a drink or some problem in your life and you commit a burglary.”
Middleton, of St Anns Court, Hartlepool, was jailed for three and a half years after he pleaded guilty to burglary and two offences of criminal damage.