Hartlepool burglar raided home of serving police officer while partner was asleep

A police officer returned to her home in the early hours of the morning to discover she had been the victim of a burglary.

Thursday, 14th April 2022, 4:45 am

The serving female officer found a number of items had been taken while her partner slept upstairs after she returned to their Hartlepool home from work.

The haul included a vacuum cleaner, laptop computer, TV, mobile phone, coat, wallet containing driving licence and bank cards, cushion cover, and even a packet of biscuits.

All of the property was recovered later the same day at the home of 34-year-old thief Michael Russell.

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Russell was sentenced by Teesside Crown Court for burglary.

At first he tried to claim somebody else had left them there and he found them when he woke up.

But he later admitted carrying out the burglary, which was confirmed by a footprint he left at the scene.

Damian Broadbent, prosecuting at Teesside Crown Court, said: “She returned home from her shift as a serving police officer to find there were a number of items missing from her property.

Her partner said that he had gone to bed that morning at around 4am and around 5am was awoken by her and asked where their television was.”

It was found that Russell, who the court heard has an “extensive record” for theft, got in the house through an unsecured kitchen window.

Police found all the stolen property, including the half-eaten packet of biscuits, at Russell’s address in Cornwall Street the following afternoon.

He had been given a magistrate’s conditional discharge for theft just two months before the burglary on December 16 last year.

The court heard the couple who were burgled feel less secure in their home and want to move.

Jailing Russell for 16 months the judge, Recorder Anthony Dunne, said: “It seems from the quantity of property stolen that you took everything valuable that you could carry and then walked out the back door.

"It’s clear that the intrusion into their home has caused them great distress and worry, quite understandably so.”

Harry Crowson, mitigating, said Russell wrestled with the decision to burgle the house while struggling for money and with substance issues.

He said: “In the cold light of day and with a clear head he really can appreciate the distress he’s caused to those who have been affected by his behaviour.”

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