A pensioner chased and caught a burglar after he raided her home.
Robert Dunn sneaked into the house of his 66-year-old victim and fled with her purse.
The woman, who had previously given cash and other help to Dunn, chased after him and retrieved some of her money, Teesside Crown Court heard.
"She had known of Dunn for a long time," said Emma Atkinson, prosecuting.
"He was as a friend of her son.
"The first thing she knew of the burglary was when she heard Dunn shut her garden gate on his way out.
"Her front door had been on the latch, and he had walked in without her knowing.
"She says Dunn had stolen from her in the past, so she checked her handbag and found her purse missing."
The court heard the victim chased after Dunn.
"She caught him a little way down the street," said Ms Atkinson.
"He denied having taken the purse, but she went through his pockets and found it.
"There had been £50 in it, but there was only £15 left.
"Dunn asked her not to call the police, saying he thought they were friends.
"He the said he had only borrowed the money, and intended to return it after the weekend."
Dunn, 55, of King Oswy Drive, Hartlepool, admitted burglary on July 24.
He has 25 previous convictions for offences involving dishonesty and drugs.
Martin Scarborough, defending, said in mitigation: "Mr Dunn went round to visit this lady, not to burgle her.
"He saw the handbag and took it, this was an opportunistic offence rather than a targeted one.
"His record is long, but his last offence of burglary was in 1996.
"There have been periods of years where he has not offended.
"Drugs is Mr Dunn's main problem, and he would welcome some help with that."
Judge Sean Morris sentenced Dunn to 10 months in prison, suspended for 18 months, including six months of drug treatment, and 20 rehabilitation activity days.
The judge told Dunn: "This was a mean and despicable offence, stealing from a friend and from someone who had helped you in the past.
"She is obviously a feisty lady and managed to catch you.
"You cut a dejected and pathetic figure, which I don't mean in a derogatory way, and you have shown you can behave yourself for years on end.
"I am going to give you a chance, but if you don't take it we will meet again."
Dunn thanked the judge before leaving the dock.