How serial Hartlepool burglar came a cropper when he targeted the wrong house

Anthony Middleton.
Anthony Middleton.

A would-be burglar picked the wrong house when his intended victim turned out to be a security advisor who pinned the crook on the ground until the police arrived.

Serial house breaker Anthony Middleton, 49, awoke the homeowner by making so much noise as he tried to break into the house in West View Road, Hartlepool.

Teesside Crown Court.

Teesside Crown Court.

After failing to get in the back door, Middleton, who had not long been released from prison for a previous burglary, tried to get in the front.

Harry Hadfield, prosecuting at Teesside Crown Court, said: “The victim opened the door and confronted Mr Middleton. He detained Mr Middleton and took him to the ground.

“He took the tool from Mr Middleton and asked his wife to call the police and the police came along.”

The court heard the victim is a “highly trained security advisor” who can restrain people with choke-holds.

Middleton, who began burgling homes in the 1980s, was left with a dislocated shoulder and in hospital.

Police found he was carrying three screwdrivers plus a torch and pair of binoculars.

CCTV from a neighbouring house showed Middleton had also tried the door of a bungalow at about 5.30am on May 5.

He had only been out of prison since last October after being jailed for three and a half years, again for burglary. He was jailed for 32 months after pleading guilty to two counts of attempted burglary.

Middleton, of Church Street, Hartlepool, apologised to the victims through his barrister Andrew Teate, who said in mitigation: “This is as far from a sophisticated burglary as one could get.”

Mr Teate added Middleton was finding jail harder as he gets older due to increasing drug use and violence among other inmates.

Judge Simon Bourne-Arton QC said: “The best part of your life has been spent in custody. You made such a noise that you disturbed the occupant. Unhappily for you, you selected a property where the householder was more than able to look after himself.”