A QUICK-THINKING neighbour helped snare two house burglars by filming them on his mobile phone.
The man whipped out his mobile when he saw Anthony Middleton and Gary Young breaking into his neighbour’s flat on Hartlepool marina.
He called police then used the video function on his phone to film the pair in the act.
Young, 39, was arrested at the scene while the footage captured by the neighbour was used to later identify Middleton.
They removed a window frame from the flat while the owners were away before they went in to look for belongings to steal.
Both men denied their involvement in the burglary, but were later found guilty by a jury following a trial.
Olivia Checa-Dover, prosecuting at Teesside Crown Court, said: “At around 1pm on May 6 the neighbour saw two men interfering with a window.
“He rang police then videoed it on his mobile phone.
“That footage led to the identification of Middleton.
“They had taken a window frame out in order to get in.”
The court heard Young committed the burglary just 15 days after he was released from prison.
He was jailed for three years under the “three strikes” rule for persistent burglars.
Middleton, 43, was given nine months prison, but the judge suspended the sentence for 12 months.
Jim Withyman, mitigating for Young, of Stirling Street, Hartlepool, said he had taken drugs since he was 15 but had started to get help.
Mr Withyman said: “He is fed up with his own conduct and there is a real ambition to change that.”
Ian Mullarkey, mitigating for Middleton, said his client had served the equivalent of a five-month prison sentence by being electronically tagged for several months.
He added Middleton wanted to say sorry to the victim and had taken steps by himself to tackle his drug problems.
Mr Mullarkey said: “He’s ashamed of what he’s done both for himself and for the shame he’s brought upon his family.”
Middleton, of Gray Street, Hartlepool, was also ordered to do 200 hours community work and given 12 months probation.
Recorder Neil Davey said: “You both have had many years of misusing drugs and that has underpinned much of your offending but to the credit of both of you, each has recently taken steps to tackle the problem that has blighted both of your lives for some time.”