A HAPLESS burglar with an “appalling record” was caught red-handed when he dropped personal documents while raiding a student house.
Paul McGill was caught after he dropped the documents, which had his name written on them, at the property in Gilesgate, Durham.
Durham Crown Court heard the house tenant was working in his room when he heard footsteps. He went out to investigate and saw two men, one he believed to be carrying a knife.
Both intruders fled, but McGill, who was carrying a lap-top computer taken from another room, dropped the papers bearing his name.
Stephen Duffield, prosecuting, said his fingerprint also found in the property.
The lap top, which was dropped by McGill, was recovered by police.
The 32-year-old, of William Place, Gilesgate, admitted burglary, with the court told it was his eighth such offence of its kind and fifth since the “three strikes” regulations were introduced.
The rule means a mandatory three-year prison sentence for three times burglary offenders.
Paul Currer, mitigating, said McGill spent much of his adult life in prison and has become “somewhat institutionalised”, with the offences committed because of his heroin use.
He said he was homeless at the time of the most recent offence, on April 13 this year, and took the opportunity to go in to the student house because the door had been left open.
Jailing him for four years, Judge Christopher Prince told McGill the student had “showed some fortitude to chase you out” but added he had felt threatened by McGill and his accomplice.
He added: “You have an appalling record for offences such as this.”