Cannabis plant thief was caught after leaving blood at scene

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BLOOD left at the scene of a flat burglary led police to the culprit responsible.

Alex Metcalfe, from Hartlepool, cut his hand when he broke into the ground floor apartment through its bathroom window.

Once inside the 22-year-old stole a cannabis plant and left the scene along with his unnamed accomplices.

He pleaded guilty to burglary at a previous hearing.

Prosecuting, David Crook told Teesside Crown Court: “The flat was in kelloe Close, Hardwick. The victim left about 4.45pm on Sunday, July 13 to visit family.

“He returned at 8.30pm to find that a neighbour had called the police after hearing loud bangs from inside.

“The bathroom window had been smashed and blood that was found was subsequently forensically analysed.

“From the burglary an illegally grown cannabis plant was taken.

“The victim was up front with police about it and was fined for possession of cannabis at magistrates court.”

Mitigating, Jim Withyman said: “He’s a young man who has some problems with depression and panic attacks.

“He was feeling low and short of money when two other men got him on board for this crime.

“They knew what was there.”

The judge, Recorder Angus Withington, sentenced Metcalfe, of Milbank Road, Hartlepool, to a 12-month community order and ordered him to carry out 80 hours of unpaid work.