Clumsy burglars caught smoking in victim’s kitchen

Curtis and Lock

Curtis and Lock

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TWO “clumsy and unsophisticated” burglars who were caught red-handed after the homeowner smelt cigarette smoke coming from downstairs have been sentenced.

John Curtis, 29, and friend Paul Lock, 53, were rumbled after making themselves comfortable in their victim’s kitchen.

The pair had been drinking together at a party when they decided to enter a nearby property.

Once inside the house in Blackfell, Washington, Curtis and Lock began to load items into a plastic bag to take away with them on August 16.

When the homeowner came downstairs he found the two defendants in the kitchen and heard them say, ‘all right man, all right’, before walking back out the door leaving the bag behind.

Mark Guiliani, prosecuting the case said: “It was only later that the man discovered that a 16-gear mountain bike and a laptop worth £400 had been stolen.

“The victim said that he often leaves his door unlocked so that his daughter can come and go from the house and initially thought it was her coming in early that morning.”

After the disturbance, the victim called the police and reported the incident.

The plastic bag left behind contained DNA for both men and a receipt in the name of Mr Lock, they were arrested shortly after.

In a victim impact statement read out at Newcastle Crown Court, the man said that he felt ‘unsafe’ in his home following the burglary.

Christopher Knox, defending Curtis, said: “These were two drunken men, they took two high value items with them but this has all the markings of a clumsy and unsophisticated burglary.”

Mr Knox told the court that Curtis, of Campbell Road, Sunderland, overdosed on 117 paracetamol in the run-up to the court case because he said he had ‘no more jail left in him’.

But Judge Penny Mooreland, jailed Curtis, 29, who is a three-strike burglar, for three years.

Lock, 53, who was described by his defence barrister Glen Gatland as a man who hadn’t troubled the courts for 10 years, was given a suspended jail sentence of two years suspended for two.

Lock, of Tor Mere Close, Blackfell, Washington, was also told he would be under curfew between the hours of 7am and 7pm for six months and that he would have to pay the victim £500.