Victim tracked down burglar with Facebook appeal

Teesside Crown Court
Teesside Crown Court

A BURGLARY victim tracked down one of the villain’s who stole his car after putting an appeal on Facebook.

The homeowner found drug addict John Miles, 40, and held on to him until police arrived and arrested him.

Miles suffered a broken hand in the struggle but said he could not complain after breaking into the family’s home while they slept and stole their nearly new car.

Just hours before the break-in in Bunting Close, Hartlepool, Miles had walked free from Hartlepool Magistrates’ Court with a five months suspended jail sentence for shoplifting to feed his drug addiction.

He was also in breach of a community order for possessing heroin and criminal damage, and he had breached a conditional discharge for more shop thefts.

Prosecutor Sue Jacobs told Teesside Crown Court that Miles committed the October 15 burglary in Bunting Close, Hartlepool, with another person.

The owners, who had two young children, had locked the front door leaving the keys on the inside, including a key to their 63-Reg Nissan Juke parked outside.

At 7.30am the son woke his mother telling her that the front door was open, and she saw that the car was missing.

Also stolen were two laptops, three watches and a handbag with bank cards and cash.

Her husband quickly put a message on Facebook and he received a call to say that it had been spotted in Dent Street with someone trying to jump-start it.

He called a friend and asked him to drive to the area, and when he himself arrived he saw his car being driven away and it stopped in a cul de sac.

He opened the driver’s door and Miles said: “It’s not my car, I’ve lent it from a friend.”

Miles ran off but the two men chased and held him until the police arrived.

Nigel Soppitt, mitigating, said that Miles received a broken hand in the struggle but he was not complaining because he felt that he deserved it.

Mr Soppitt said that Miles acknowledged that he was too old to be committing offences and to be a drug addict.

But he had avoided drugs while on remand in prison and he was determined to stay drug-free on his release.

The judge told Miles that it was quite obvious that his offences were committed to fund his drug habit.

Recorder Howard Prosser said: “I accept that you are not a professional burglar but clearly these offences cross the custody threshold.”

Miles, of Derwent Street, Hartlepool, was jailed for 26 months after he pleaded guilty to burglary, taking a vehicle without consent, and driving with no licence and insurance.