This Hartlepool burglar was caught after falling asleep during a raid

Paul Hedley

Paul Hedley

A dozy crook who was caught napping by police after a botched early-hours raid on a Hartlepool home has been locked up.

Serial offenders Paul Hedley and Keith Ingham forced their way into an unoccupied property in Marlsborough Street, Hartlepool, but their crimes were brought into light by a keen-eyed neighbour.

A householder who was awoken by noise coming from the empty two-bed terrace at 2am called in police after darkness was broken by a beam of light coming from a mobile phone or a torch.

Police were despatched and caught Ingham inside the property, with hapless Hedley found slumped next to a car - apparently asleep - just yards away from the crime scene.

Hedley, of Dent Street, Hartlepool, was convicted of burglary and going equipped - after being found in possession of a spanner and an allen key - with Ingham admitting burglary and possession of a bladed article after being caught carrying a knife.

Both were jailed for three years.

Teesside Crown Court heard that serial criminal Hedley has 112 previous offences stretching back to his youth - with two previous burglaries making him liable for a minumum three-year term for a third-strike conviction.

Ingham, of Ruby Street, Hartlepool, has been before the courts 77 times for a total of 221 previous offences and was also slapped with a three-year jail term.

The raid was carried out on June 4 of this year.

Peter Sabiston, prosecuting, said: “The property had been unoccupied for 18 months.

“There was £2,300 of damage caused to the property due to the burglary, in which the front door was forced.

“A neighbour was awoken at 2am by noise coming through the property of people moving inside and saw a light, which may have been from a torch or a mobile phone.

“She was surprised by this as the property had been empty for some time.

“Police attended the property and saw Ingham trying to drag something out of the rear of the property.

“Hedley ran from the scene but was found nearby next to a car, asleep on the ground.

“He was asked what he was doing and said ‘I’m asleep’.

“He said he had the snapper with him to fix a bike that he no longer owned.”

Ingham also admitted three separate shop theft offences.

Andrew Teate, defending Hedley, said; “The property was unoccupied at the time as it was undergoing rennovation.

“There are no aggravating features to raise the term above the minimum three years.

“I would invite you to keep the sentence as short as possible.”

Gary Wood, defending, Ingham conceded that the offence was aggravated by his possession of a knife.

He said Ingham carried the weapon for self defence after previously being the victim of a serious assault.