Burglar snared by blood spots

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A SERIAL burglar who ransacked a family home in a £4,000 daylight raid has been jailed for three years.

Michael Johnston, who has a string of previous convictions for burglaries, smashed his way into the house at Longlands Drive, Houghton.

Newcastle Crown Court heard the 32-year-old had been released from serving a prison sentence for another house raid just two weeks before.

When the shocked householder returned home that day, he was met by the sight of his patio window being smashed and every room in his house ransacked.

More than £4,000 worth of property, including an irreplaceable gold cross belonging to a relative had been taken and bleach had been used in an attempt to cover up blood spots from where Johnston cut himself on the way in.

The patio door cost £800 to repair.

Johnston was arrested after his DNA was matched to the blood still left at the scene.

He admitted carrying out the raid on January 25, with another man who he refused to name.

Bob Spragg, defending, said Johnston had been determined to stay out of trouble when he was last released from prison in mid-January.

But on the day of the raid he got drunk, had an argument and took some Valium.

Mr Spragg said: “He can barely recollect what happened next.”

Mr Spragg said Johnston has kicked his drug habit and has vowed to stay out of trouble when he is allowed back into the community, and added: “He wants desperately to try and change things.”

Mr Recorder Anton Lodge sentenced Johnston, of Kirklea Road, Houghton, to three years behind bars.

“Everybody dislikes dwelling house burglars,” he said. “Dwelling house burglars cause immense distress to the householders and occupiers whose houses are ransacked.

“The occupiers of this address were greatly distressed by returning home to find their house ransacked, windows broken and your blood in their property.

“You tried to cover up your presence by putting bleach on the blood, fortunately that failed.”