THE victim of an attempted burglary helped snare the yobs who woke him in the middle of the night.
Greg Gavin realised his home in Elwick Road, Hartlepool, was being targeted when he heard three loud bangs at 11.45pm.
A pair of thieves had been moving cars at the front of the house, but fled when they saw Mr Gavin coming.
They were caught minutes later by police officers and Mr Gavin identified them by the side of the road.
Both were hauled before Teesside Crown Court last Wednesday to stand trial. But they admitted their guilt at the eleventh hour and pleaded guilty to attempted burglary, theft and criminal damage on February 16.
Kevin Lynn, 45, of Forest Walk, Hartlepool, was given a six-month prison sentence suspended for two years with supervision and a curfew.
Anthony Whitelock, 25, of Earlstone Walk, Hartlepool, received a nine-month prison sentence suspended for two years with supervision and a course to help him with an alcohol problem.
Judge Peter Armstrong told the duo: “Both of you are getting on a bit, and it’s time you both grew up.”
Prosecutor Richard Parcell said Mr Gavin and his mum, Gill Gavin, were asleep when the commotion occurred.
Their Vauxhall Corsa and Volkswagen Golf had been pushed together and damaged and Mr Gavin saw two men at the front door. A portable music player had also been stolen.
Mr Parcell added: “They ran away but he followed them for some time. The police were called and he was picked up.
“Just as they were pulling up to two uniformed officers, he saw these two persons in their custody and said ‘that’s them’.”
Robin Denny, mitigating for Lynn, and Paul Abrahams, mitigating for Whitelock, said their clients both need help to deal with alcohol problems that have led them to “regularly offend”.
Mr Denny said Lynn was “genuinely ashamed” while Mr Abrahams said Whitelock needs to be in a “better position” than prison to deal with the issues he has.