A CAREER criminal burgled a cancer patient’s home just three days after being released from jail for his previous break-in.
The shocked householder discovered crook Anthony Holtom, 31, in her house in the early hours of the morning after she saw a light on and investigated.
He fled, but was quickly tracked down by a police sniffer dog and he was found hiding in a garden nearby.
Holtom was jailed for four years and eight months at Teesside Crown Court yesterday.
The woman could not sleep because of chemotherapy treatment when Holtom struck at the house in the Grange area of Hartlepool at around 2.30am on January 17.
Her husband and son were also asleep in the house at the time.
But the woman went downstairs after noticing a light on and discovered Holtom in her utility room.
She shouted: “What do you think you are doing?” and he fled.
Holtom stole two sets of car keys, a set of house keys, three mobile phones, some glasses, sunglasses and beer.
A door of the family car was also found open.
Most of the items were found when Holtom, who admitted burglary, was arrested but one of the keys has never been recovered.
In a victim impact statement the householder said: “This incident has left me and my family feeling uncomfortable and I’m worried this could happen again.”
The court heard Holtom was “highly intoxicated” on drugs when he burgled the home after being turned away by his family when he was released early from a three-year jail term.
It is thought he got in by a window which had been left slightly open.
His last report by the probation service found he had little appreciation of how burglar victims felt and he committed crimes because he took drugs.
Stephen Constantine, mitigating, said there was limited confrontation with the householder and no force was used.
He added Holtom, of Challenor Road, Hartlepool, was making steps to overcome a heroin addiction.
Judge Howard Crowson said: “It must have been a terrifying experience and the victim impact statement indicates she still feels vulnerable.
“There’s little or no mitigation that can be advanced on your behalf.If you continue to burgle, the sentences will just get longer.”