A SERIAL burglar who once stole from his own sister has been jailed after raiding the home of a woman while she slept.
Karl Atkinson, 27, entered a home in Dene View Crescent, South Hylton, in the early hours of July 18 this year.
The owner of the house had not locked the door as her son, who lived with her and his elderly grandmother, was out late.
When she was awoken at 3.45am to noises downstairs, she thought her son had arrived home, but when she later went downstairs she noticed her Samsung television was missing.
A games console had also been stolen from her son’s bedroom.
The homeowner contacted the police and Atkinson, along with partner Toni Burrell, 24, were spotted soon after in the area carrying the stolen items.
At Newcastle Crown Court, Neil Pallister, prosecuting, said: “Police, having received the call on the road, saw the defendants on South Hylton bank.
“Burrell was riding a bike, carrying a red bag on her back. Karl Atkinson, behind her, was carrying the television.
“When they were told to stop, Atkinson put the TV down and ran off.
“Burrell then rode off. He was later found hiding under a bush.
“Toni Burrell was arrested later at her home address. A Playstation games console was recovered.”
Atkinson, of Roseberry Street, Monkwearmouth, pleaded guilty to burglary at an earlier hearing.
Burrell, of Hylton Road, pleaded guilty to handling stolen goods.
In a victim personal statement read out to the court, the owner of the house said her 83-year-old mother had been left terrified by the incident.
She said: “I thought burglary was a thing of the past.
“My mother doesn’t want me to go out after 4pm as she is scared to stay in by herself.”
The court heard that Atkinson has a history of previous burglaries, including from his own sister after a family dispute.
Judge Paul Sloan told him: “The householder was in a state of shock and was left numb by the incident.
“She speaks of being terrified for her safety.
“This is your third conviction for a dwelling house burglary.
“I accept this was an opportunistic offence but you now regret your actions.”
Atkinson also faced a separate charge of theft.
This related to an incident in April this year where he stole £163 worth of goods from Primark, on Fawcett Street, Sunderland.
He was sentenced to a total of two years and ten months imprisonment.
Burrell was given a 12-month community order and is subject to a 9pm-7pm curfew.
She was also ordered to pay £150 in court costs.
Alec Burns, defending Atkinson, said: “Somewhat oddly, his problem hasn’t been drink or drugs but rather a lack of money.
“His savings ran out.
“He accepts now it must have been awful for the person in that house.
“He accepts he has to go to prison for a considerable amount of time.”