A burglar smashed his way into a Wearside nursery and stole a sweet jar of money collected for the children.
Marc Wood, 31, and an accomplice, stole £500 and left a damage bill of the same amount, when they targeted Little Treasures nursery after a drinking binge, Sunderland magistrates heard.
Wood and his unnamed colleague were caught on CCTV in the early hours of February 11.
Prosecutor Laura Johnson said deputy manager Sarah Troup described two males, trying to break the front and rear doors.
“They succeeded when this defendant threw a rock at the glass of the rear door, allowing one of the males to gain entry,” Ms Johnson said.
The door to the management office was forced and a sweet jar, containing cash for the children, was taken, along with other funds, totalling £500, the court heard.
Ms Johnson said Miss Troup had discovered the break-in when she arrived to open up on the Thursday morning, after leaving the premises, in Concord, Washington, locked and secure the previous evening.
“A forensic examination of the scene found a blood trace in a secure area, matching this defendant,” she added.
Wood told police: “I had been out drinking all over the place and bumped into this person I’ve never met before. He suggested we do a job together. I can’t remember any more because I’m an alcoholic and I drink a lot.”
Wood, of Conishead Terrace, South Hetton, pleaded guilty to burglary on the basis of not entering the nursery, and breaching two conditional discharges.
Chris Wilson, defending, said Wood was not prepared to comply with any community orders.
He was sentenced to 20 weeks’ imprisonment, suspended for two years, and was told to pay £1,000 in compensation in £5 weekly instalments.
The deputy manager of a Washington children’s nursery targeted by burglar Marc Wood has slammed his actions as “unacceptable”.
Sarah Troup, who works at the nursery in Blue House Lane, Concord, said in a victim personal statement read out in court: “Part of the money were funds raised by staff and parents. We use the money to buy small gifts and treats for the children.
“The fact that two adult males can do this is unacceptable as it spoils things for the children and carers here.
“As well as the financial cost of the damage caused – which is almost £1,000 – there was disruption to the nursery and the children we care for, when they arrived that morning.
“Part of the nursery had to be closed off for the police examination and the shattered glass had to be cleaned up as the children could have been harmed by it.”
Repairs to an internal door also had to be made, she said.