A MOTHER was kept out of her Wearside home by a burglar who was forcing the door closed as she tried to get inside.
The woman had been out of the house for just a few hours when she and her two children got back and realised the front door was being blocked by a stranger.
She looked through the gap and saw the defendant wearing her partner’s sweatshirt.
Newcastle Crown Court heard the family eventually managed to get inside, where they found property had been moved and chocolate had been stolen and eaten.
Serial raider Dale Hughes was caught hiding in a next-door yard, still wearing a sweatshirt he had stolen from the family home.
The 26-year-old, of Seaview Street, Sunderland, pleaded guilty to burglary and was jailed for two years and five months.
Prosecutor Bridie Smurthwaite told the court the raid happened on February 17, when the mum and children had gone out and returned in the early afternoon.
Miss Smurthwaite said: “When the mum tried to enter through the front door, she felt it was being held shut against her.
“She then heard the chain going on and that stopped her from getting inside.
“She said to whoever was inside to let her in. She heard a male voice reply ‘I’m trying’.
“She looked through the gap and saw the defendant wearing her partner’s sweatshirt.”
The court heard when the woman finally managed to get inside her home she found her electrical goods had been moved, there were sweet wrappers on her bed and a half-eaten cream egg near the sink.
Hughes told police who arrested him: “It was my mate’s house, wait a second, I think it is a burglary.”
The court heard Hughes caused £250 worth of damage to a window he smashed to get inside the house.
The ordeal left the mum “extremely frightened” and worried about her children.
Jamie Adams, defending, said drink and drugs were at the heart of Hughes’ problems and offending history.