Burglar 'lucky' not to be jailed after breaking into friend's Hartlepool home while he was asleep

A judge told a burglar who broke into his friend’s home while he slept was lucky not to be sent to prison.

Friday, 19th March 2021, 6:33 pm
Updated Friday, 19th March 2021, 6:35 pm

Frankland Hills used a screwdriver to snap the front door chain at his friend’s house two days after he was a guest.

He stole the occupant’s wallet which had £120 in it and his bank card and pin number that was quickly used to withdraw £500.

Teesside Crown Court heard how the victim now suffers nightmares about Hills and said he hates him.

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The case was heard at Teesside Crown Court.

Samuel Ponniah, prosecuting, described how the victim secured his front door chain and went to bed on October 20, 2020, two days after Hills had visited the man in the Owton Manor area of Hartlepool.

Mr Ponniah said: “He woke at 4.50am and went downstairs to see that his chain securing the front door had been broken and was hanging down leaving his property unsecured.

"He went to his living room and noticed that his wallet was missing along with two bags of lose money totalling £35.”

The victim called his bank and was told there had been two withdrawals of £250 from a cashpoint on Powlett Road at around midnight.

He suspected Hills was responsible for burgling him and when police attended his address they found the victim’s wallet and bank card behind a radiator in the kitchen.

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Hills, aged 51, of Milbank Road, Hartlepool, admitted the burglary but told police he had been drunk and felt bad.

He denied taking the money with the bank card saying he does not know how to use a cashpoint.

A charge of fraud was left to lie on the court file.

In an impact statement read in court the victim said: “My friendship with Hills is non existent. Following what he’s done to me I hate him.

"I have seen Hills in my dreams and these dreams are horrific.”

Michele Turner, defending, said Hills was a person of ‘limited ability’ adding: “He was quite upset that he’s caused him such hurt and discomfort.

"He made very full admissions even before the matter went to the magistrates court.”

He was given 12 month prison suspended for 18 months.

Judge Howard Crowson said Hills was “quite a vulnerable character” who would struggle with prison.

Suspending the sentence he said: “You are quite lucky.”

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