A BURGLAR crept unnoticed into the houses of two women to steal their handbags.
The second victim of Ricky Burdess didn’t realise her bag had gone until police returned her belongings a few hours later, Durham Crown Court heard.
“Both burglaries took place on October 6,” said Chris Williamson, prosecuting. “One of the victims lived in the same street as the defendant in Peterlee.
“She was at home with her family when she noticed the doors to her conservatory and back door were open, even though no member of the household had been out.
“It was not until a little while later that she realised her handbag was missing from the kitchen bench.”
The court heard police arrived quickly and noticed Burdess acting strangely at the rear of the house where he lived.
“Officers arrested and searched him,” added Mr Williamson. “They found property belonging to the woman whose handbag had been taken.
“Hidden in Burdess’s long johns were bank cards belonging to another woman.
“She was traced to another house in Peterlee.
“That woman had not realised her handbag had been taken until police arrived to return her cards.”
Burdess, 22, of Pentland Close, Peterlee, admitted two offences of burglary.
He has previous convictions for burglary, criminal damage, assault and vehicle taking.
Martin Scarborough, defending, said in mitigation: “He had taken a large amount of valium at the time and has little recollection of these offences.
“Mr Burdess tells me he realises he cannot spend his life going in and out of prison, and he genuinely wants to sort out his drink and drugs problems.
“Perhaps his best mitigation is his early plea of guilty.”
Judge Penny Moreland jailed Burdess for 16 months.
The judge told him: “This offending puts you in breach of an earlier court order, you have a bad record for one so young, and you fall to be sentenced today for two dwelling house burglaries, not one.
“All these factors mean immediate custody cannot be avoided.”
Burdess was ordered to pay £100 victim impact surcharge under new rules, which apply to offences committed after October 1 and dealt with in the crown court.