Teenager locked up for burgling Hartlepool family home while high on drugs

Teesside Crown Court
Teesside Crown Court

A TROUBLED teenager with a shocking criminal record burgled a family home late at night while on drugs.

Paul Rowntree already has 21 convictions for crimes including burglary and theft despite only turning 18 in July.

In his latest burglary he raided a family home in Troutpool Close, Hartlepool, and stole their computer console and games.

The homeowners and their three children, aged between five and 10, were asleep.

The court heard Rowntree was “off his head on pills” at the time.

Emma Atkinson, prosecuting, said the homeowner had locked up on August 18 but when he woke early the next morning he noticed a draught in the living room.

Miss Atkinson said: “He went to investigate and a window was wide open. A PlayStation 3 console, controller and around 10 games had been stolen.

“He noticed a chisel outside near to the window which certainly wasn’t his and must have been brought to the property.”

Police suspected Rowntree but he gave them a false alibi at first.

When officers discovered he was lying he was pulled in for more questioning when he finally admitted the burglary.

“He said he had been off his head on pills and had been at the house next door when he noticed an insecure window and climbed in,” added Miss Atkinson.

Rowntree faced at least three years’ detention as the burglary meant he qualified under the three strikes rules for persistent burglars.

Anthony Dunne, mitigating, said he only just qualified after recently turning 18 and said Rowntree had a long history of emotional and educational problems.

Mr Dunne added: “He was heavily under the influence of tablets at the time and has very little memory of what occurred.

“It was opportunistic and there was no confrontation with the householder.”

Rowntree, of Lowthian Road, Hartlepool, was given two years and five months in a young offenders’ institution.

Judge George Moorhouse said: “People who break into dwellings at night when people are in the house are committing a very serious offence.

“You have an appalling record for someone your age and have to be sentenced for a third strike burglary.”