Eagle-eyed neighbour helps put Sunderland burglar behind bars
A burglar who stole designer goods and the keys to a family car during a house raid has been jailed - thanks to an eagle-eyed neighbour.
Rocky Brennan crept into a home on Glenthorpe Avenue, Sunderland, when the residents were having their tea on July 3.
The 33-year-old, who has a long history of breaking into homes, stole a range of items including a wallet, Louis Vuitton handbag and Radley purse containing 300 euros and the keys to a Volvo motor.
Newcastle Crown Court heard he abandoned the vehicle on nearby Park Lea Road and made off on foot but had been seen by neighbours, who alerted the victim and directed a police car towards him.
Prosecutor Emma Atkinson told the court: "He had a can of Fosters in his hand so was arrested on suspicion of drink driving. He replied 'drink driving? I can't even drive, I haven't got a licence'."
Brennan, of Sandringham Road, Roker, Sunderland, admitted burglary, taking without consent, driving while disqualified, having no insurance and failing to provide a specimen.
Miss Atkinson added: "The householder described being shocked someone had the nerve to go into his home and steal while they were watching tv."
Judge Robert Adams sentenced Brennan to two years and five months behind bars.
The judge told him: "The family were watching TV and you brazenly carried out this burglary."
Liam O'Brien, defending, said Brennan had a bad record in the past but had stayed out of trouble for around seven years, until he suffered family bereavements and the breakdown of his marriage.
Mr O'Brien added: "He fell back into old habits and began using drugs as a coping mechanism and turned to crime to fund that.
"Today he presents as a man who appreciates the gravity of the situation and knows there can only be one outcome of this hearing."
After Brennan's guilty plea was entered at an earlier hearing, Detective Constable Stu Havery, of Northumbria Police’s Southern Burglary Team, has praised the neighbour’s quick reactions.
He said: “Burglary is such an intrusive and emotive crime that can have a long-lasting effect on victims and their community as a whole.
“Brennan’s swift arrest was made possible because a neighbour saw him lurking outside an address and grew suspicious.
“After alerting the victim, they then tracked Brennan’s movements and assisted officers.
“I would like to thank the member of the public for following their instinct and helping to take a cynical offender off the streets.
“This case highlights once again that the public are our eyes and ears, and by working together with police, we can ensure criminals such as Brennan are brought to justice.”
Det Con Havery is part of a group of dedicated burglar hunters who review every incident across Sunderland and South Tyneside.