A BURGLAR who raided a home while he knew the family were out at a party next door has been put behind bars.
Lee Richardson had just left the gathering where the mum and her boyfriend were out celebrating when he put a brick through the window and broke in.
Newcastle Crown Court heard the 31-year-old raider searched every room at the house in Oxclose, helping himself to £1,900 worth of property, including an iPhone, a DVD player and a laptop.
Richardson, who has seven convictions for burglaries and was out on licence from a five-year sentence for an earlier house raid, packed the stolen property inside a pillowcase to take away.
The court heard as Richardson left the house, one of the guests at the party next door realised what he was up to and pushed him into some bushes which made him drop all of the stolen goods before he got away.
Prosecutor Neil Pallister told the court: “He targeted the premises because he knew they were out, they were at the address next door.”
Richardson, of Carradoc Close, Oxclose, Washington, pleaded guilty to burglary.
Mr Recorder Steven Coupland jailed him for three years.
The judge told him: “You went into the house of people you knew vaguely.
“You knew they weren’t there because they were at a party you had just left.”
The judge said he had read a “moving, honest and frank” letter sent to him by Richardson, setting out his hopes to live a crime-free life when he gets released
Glen Gatland, defending, said Richardson has a troubled past and had resorted to his old ways of using drink and drugs to block out bad memories when he carried out the raid in September.
Mr Gatland said: “It is almost like a cry for help, he commits and offence knowing he will then be taken into custody, that is a way of dealing with some of his demons.
“It means he will be in a secure and safe accommodation, away from the drugs scene, and he can cope.”