A TERRIFIED woman in her 80s watched in fear as a prolific crook raided her home.
The victim, who had recently come out of hospital, discovered burglar Scott McLeod rummaging around in her back garden early in the morning.
The brazen criminal had only been released from police custody the day before and was on bail over another burglary.
The brave victim, 83, hid out of view and called police, who caught McLeod red-handed.
She also discovered he had entered her conservatory, as well as breaking into her shed, and had stolen items from her next-door neighbour’s garden.
McLeod was jailed for just under two and a half years when he was sentenced at Teesside Crown Court.
David Crook, prosecuting, said: “The defendant was on police bail having only been released the day before in an ongoing allegation of burglary.
“The victim contacted police to say there was a man in her back garden throwing things out of the garden shed.
“She was scared by what was going on having recently come out of hospital with a broken leg.
“She crouched down and tried to provide the police with a commentary and asked them to attend, which they did.”
Mr Crook said McLeod had piled up various pieces of garden equipment and power tools on a sack barrow ready to wheel away before he was caught.
Describing the effect of the burglary, the elderly victim said: “This has been like a nightmare. I was completely distressed and feared for my safety.
“People should not be able to get away with things like this.”
The court heard McLeod has numerous previous convictions, including two previous house burglaries.
Andrew Teate, mitigating, said McLeod, of Annandale Crescent, Hartlepool, had acted on impulse after he went to the street in West View to see family.
He added there had been no direct confrontation with the victim.
McLeod was jailed for 876 days after he admitted two counts of burglary and one theft.
Recorder Sophie Drake said: “When she saw you in her garden she must have been absolutely petrified and that’s understandable.
“I accept you didn’t target her as an 83-year-old but that’s the chance you take when you burgle someone’s house, it’s going to be a vulnerable or old person’s house who then suffers the consequences.
“You are somebody who troubles the courts on a regular basis.
“You know the court has only one option.”