A knife raider who tried to rob a tobacco baron in his home was jailed for nearly seven years yesterday.
The victim, who said it was common knowledge that he had been selling imported cigarettes and tobacco, thought that Kevin Brown, 38, was a new customer when he rang his door intercom at teatime.
Brown entered with a rucksack from which he pulled a 10-inch kitchen knife.
Emma Atkinson, prosecuting, told Teesside Crown Court that Brown then grabbed the dealer and held the blade against his throat but the dealer fought back and managed to get Brown out and to close the door.
Miss Atkinson said that the man told police that, although the struggle lasted 10 minutes, and that he emerged unharmed.
In a victim impact statement he said that his activities were widely known, and he said that he was still living in the same property in central Hartlepool where he had been operating for over two years.
Brown, a prolific burglar, of Wynyard Mews, Hartlepool, was arrested a month later on November 18 after he stole a safe containing £7,560 in cash from The Co-op store on Stockton Road, Hartlepool, - using a pickaxe to force open a door.
Miss Atkinson said that he was also recorded on CCTV stripping metal from derelict properties owned by Hartlepool Council.
He also burgled family homes in Eaglesfield Road, Hartlepool, and Russell Close, Hartlepool, stealing £450 cash and a laptop and other computer equipment.
His DNA was found on a glove left behind. He had £450 in cash on him when he was arrested.
Miss Atkinson said that Brown had 21 convictions for 46 offences including eight domestic burglaries.
Brown admitted attempted robbery, possession of a knife, and five burglaries.
Stephen Constantine, defending, said that Brown had been trying to stay out of trouble and he had carried out community orders from the courts, but he got into financial difficulties.
He said: “He went initially to buy tobacco but he saw some money on the table and he was tempted.”
The Recorder of Middlesbrough Judge Simon Bourne-Arton QC told Brown that he had a very bad record and that within just weeks of being release from prison he carried out a number of offences included the attempted robbery.
The judge told him: “Going into someone’s house with a knife, planned and holding it to his throat, left him for a short period of time unable to go back into his own house where he carried out the sale of imported tobacco.”
Brown, who appeared over a videolink from Holme House Prison, Stockton, was jailed for six years and eight months.