Gang jailed after raid on ill pensioner’s home

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A GANG who raided the home of a terminally-ill pensioner has been jailed for a total of 12 years.

The terrified occupant was woken by the sound of the break-in as he slept at the Hendon home he shares with his 74-year-old brother.

Thinking there was something wrong with his sibling, who suffers from bowel cancer, the man walked downstairs and came face-to-face with one of the burglars who said: “I thought my nana lived here”.

The shaken 63-year-old then pulled an emergency cord installed in his home at Beaumont Lodge sheltered accommodation, as the drunken mob made off down a back alley carrying a 50inch television they had stolen.

Newcastle Crown Court yesterday heard how the fingerprints of Stephen Langton, 20, were later discovered on the TV.

At the time of the break-in, Langton, of Hendon Burn Avenue, Sunderland, was already on bail for two separate street robberies, one on a 16-year-old boy and another on a man who suffers from a serious immune system disorder.

The gang broke into the pensioner’s home through a back window at 11.30pm on Thursday, October 4, last year.

At around the same time the resident was being confronted by one of the gang, a worker from the sheltered accommodation building noticed a group of men at the back of the premises carrying out a television.

Police searched the area, seizing CCTV showing the gang walking down a back alley, carrying the TV. They were then located nearby and arrested.

Langton, Daniel Bolton, 21, of no fixed address; Terry Casey, 22, of Spring Garden Close, Hendon; and Paul Mason, 20, of Hendon Valley Court, all pleaded guilty to burglary at earlier hearings.

The four claimed they were all drunk at the time of the break-in. Michael Bunch, prosecuting, said: “The emergency call made by the occupant of the sheltered accommodation property shows just how distressed he was at the time of this incident.”

Lewis Kerr, defending Langton, said his client had a problem with crack cocaine and lived an “extremely chaotic” life dealing with various drug and alcohol issues.

Mr Recorder Charles Ekins sentenced Langton to six years for the burglary and two robberies he admitted.

Bolton and Casey were each sentenced to 27 months in jail, while Mason was given an 18-month jail term.

l Geoffrey Croft, 23, of Greta Terrace, Barnes, Sunderland, was given a six-month jail sentence suspended for 12 months after he pleaded guilty to handling stolen goods. His brother, Daniel Croft, 21, of Lilac Avenue, Silksworth, Sunderland, was give a community order and ordered to carry out 150 hours of unpaid work after also pleading guilty to a charge of handling stolen goods.