DIY detective tells how he tracked down burglars

Philip Armstrong and his family Keiron 9, Shane 7, Sophie 5, and Owen 3.
Philip Armstrong and his family Keiron 9, Shane 7, Sophie 5, and Owen 3.
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A DAD today told how he turned DIY detective to track down two thieves who left his children distraught.

Father-of-four Philip Armstrong decided to take matters into his own hands after his house was broken into and the family’s Xbox games console was taken.

The 39-year-old said: “When someone does something really bad to your children you will do anything to make it right for them.

“My kids were really upset and they said to me ‘what have we done wrong that would mean someone would do this?’.

“I told them they hadn’t done anything wrong and it was just a horrible person that had done it.

“And after it happened I had a funny feeling I would find the Xbox in the town because the thieves would probably try and sell it.”

Mr Armstrong, who lives in Pallion with his girlfriend Alison Taylor, 34, started looking in cash exchange stores in Sunderland in the hope the thieves may have taken in his games console.

And after finding it, he said his children, Owen, three, Sophie, five, Shane, seven, and Kieron, nine, were delighted to get it back.

He said: “After trying a few stores with no luck I eventually found one that had exchanged an Xbox and I was able to match my serial number with it.

“They were then able to see who had brought it in on the CCTV footage and I went to the police station to give a statement.

“I felt really happy because after they had hurt my children I was so pleased that I could give them the Xbox back and that they had been charged.

“It was very satisfying that I had managed to find them and even though the police had taken down details about the Xbox I thought by the time they got round to it, it might have already been sold on.”

The thieves, Aaron Burgess and Michael Kirtley, were sentenced at Newcastle Crown Court, as reported in yesterday’s Echo.

Burgess, 23, of Fenton Square, Ford Estate, admitted burglary and was jailed for 27 months. Kirtley, 24, of Duncan Street, Pallion, admitted the same charge and was jailed for eight months.