A PENSIONER’S home was trashed when burglars tried to cover their tracks after mistaking it for a drug dealer’s den.
Kevin Cutter and his unknown accomplice targeted the 77-year-old’s Sunderland house in the mistaken belief there would be stashes of cash inside.
Once they realised the wrong place had been broken into, the kitchen taps were turned on and surfaces covered in washing up liquid to hide fingerprints.
When the pensioner, whose home had been burgled once before, returned, he found his house flooded, the kitchen window smashed and his belongings strewn around.
Cutter, 36, of Prescott Road, Pennywell, pleaded guilty to burglary on the basis he acted as lookout.
Prosecutor Diane Spence told Newcastle Crown Court: “In his basis of plea he accepts he participated with another male, who he was not prepared to name through fear of repercussions.
“It was thought the premises belonged to a drug dealer and there would be plenty of money there.
“Cutter said he was asked to be lookout and accepts he went and assisted in the window being broken and cut his hand.
“The other male went in for a few minutes then came out through the window saying he must have got the wrong address.
“He had not taken anything from the premises.
“The defendant was not aware the taps had been left running as he never actually went in.”
Cutter was traced through blood left around the area of the broken window which was a DNA match to his.
The victim told police he has been left feeling vulnerable in his own home and said: “I am extremely anxious that people may return to the house.
“I am an elderly gentleman and this is the second time in six years intruders have invaded my house.”
While on bail for the break-in last November, Cutter took part in a £9,000 raid at a commercial depot in Gateshead, an offence he pleaded guilty to.
Judge Roger Thorn QC jailed Cutter for two years and accepted his basis of plea.
He said: “This was a mean and nasty offence. You may not have known this but it was the home of a 77-year-old gentleman who lived on his own.”
Bob Spragg, mitigating, said Cutter has a history of mental health problems and had now distanced himself from the people involved in offending, adding that Cutter had not realised the burgled home belonged to a pensioner.