Sunderland couple jailed for burglary at city home

Andrea Paglia.
Andrea Paglia.

A couple cried in the dock when a judge said they must go to jail for a house raid they carried out together.

Andrea Paglia and Tanya Walt claim to have just a vague recollection of breaking into their 65-year-old victim's Sunderland home in the early morning after a night of drinking last November.

Tanya Walt.

Tanya Walt.

Newcastle Crown Court heard today the shocked householder, who was in poor health, was woken by voices and found the pair packing up his belongings ready to take away with them.

Walt said "sorry mate" as she and her boyfriend made off from the burgled house.

The pair were arrested nearby with a bag containing personal property, including a silver necklace left to the victim by his late mother.

He told police he felt "gutted and shocked" that his home had been targeted and said he was left with a repair bill to fix damage to his back door as well as a mess to tidy up.

Prosecutor Michael Bunch told the court: "There was a substantial disturbance across a large part of the house."

Paglia, 44, of Hudson Road, Sunderland, and Walt, 38, of Freda Street, also Sunderland, pleaded guilty to burglary.

Paglia admitted a further charge of having a bladed article in relation to a knife found in his pocket when he was searched by the police.

Paglia was jailed for 18 months and Walt for 12 months.

Miss Recorder Sarah Mallett told them: "You disturbed a 65-year-old man in his home address.

"Items were taken from his property and other items were put together, ready to be taken.

"There was no confrontation beyond the fact that you were still in the premises when he arrived and you immediately left.

"I accept the knife was not withdrawn in any way and was not obviously used during the course of the burglary.

"The victim was experiencing health problems at the time.

"Amongst the items taken were those that had sentimental value and he had some mess and damage to deal with, which caused further financial loss."

Both defendants started crying and were handed tissues by the court usher when the judge said the prison sentences could not be suspended.

Vic Laffey, mitigating for Paglia, said: "The limit of the confrontation was the two defendants simply running off.

"There was a knife but it was not part and parcel of the burglary."

Stephen Duffield, mitigating for Walt, who lives with her 17-year-old son, said the raid was "spur of the moment" after both defendants had been drinking.