Bungling burglar fell asleep in chair during house raid

Paul Phythian.
Paul Phythian.

A serial burglar who fell asleep during a raid at a family home has been put behind bars.

Paul Phythian nodded off after being confronted by the owner at a property in East Boldon in September.

Newcastle Crown Court heard the 45-year-old, who had been taking drugs, stayed snoozing in a living room chair until the police arrived and he was taken away.

Prosecutor Angus Taylor told the court Phythian had been caught standing at the bottom of the stairs in the house at 1.20am.

Mr Taylor said: "The complainant confronted the defendant and he was, essentially invited back in, where he fell asleep.

"The complainant kept an eye on him while the police were summonsed."

The court heard the raid caused "huge distress" to the family.

The complainant said in a victim statement, which he read to the court himself: "I dread to think what could have happened if he went into my daughter's bedroom."

He added: "This was an experience my family and myself never want to experience ever again."

Phythian, of Durham Road, Gateshead, admitted burglary.

The burglar, who has previous convictions for house raids on his record of 91 offences, also admitted breaking into a house in Gateshead in the hours before the Boldon break-in.

He was linked to the Gateshead raid after being confronted by the owner, who put out an appeal for information on social media.

Mr Recorder Simon Goldberg jailed Phythian for two years and five months.

The judge told him: "The complainant found you standing at the bottom of his stairs.

"You were intending to steal from him.

"He said this incident has had a detrimental effect on his family, in particular his daughter, who was in the house at the time."

Jamie Adams, defending, said Phythian's life has been blighted by drugs, from a young age, but he is determined to "go straight".

Mr Adams said: "He is a bit of a hapless individual, to say the least.

Mr Adams said: "During the second offence he is invited back into the house, he sits down in a chair in the living room and falls asleep.

"Really, that says it all about his condition. It is one night of offending."