Family slept upstairs as raiders broke into home

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TWO men who stole thousands of pounds and a car from a family as they slept have been jailed for a total of more than seven years.

Paul Faulkner and John McCourt could have got more cash from the house in Seaham but they apparently missed £4,000 in an open safe, Durham Crown Court heard.

Prosecutor Oliver Thorne said the two men broke into the house while five children and their parents slept upstairs.

“The family own rental properties and had just done a rent collection round,” Mr Thorne added.

“Faulkner and McCourt were able to find £2,600 in cash, but while they took a passport from a safe in the house, they left £4,000.

“The men left in the family’s Nissan Qashqai, which was spotted by police a few hours later near Hart Village.”

The court heard there was short chase before an agricultural vehicle forced Faulkner to stop.

“Both men fled,” said Mr Thorne. “They were chased and arrested, and both denied any involvement in the burglary.

“Stolen property from the house was found in the car, including two knives. They were linked to the burglary by a training shoe print and finger prints.”

Mr Thorne said the family, whose copy of the Koran had been disturbed in the burglary, were very distressed by what had happened and no longer felt safe in the house.

Faulkner, 30, of Ilchester Square, and McCourt, 31, of Derwent Close, both Seaham, both admitted burglary and aggravated vehicle taking on June 6.

The court heard both men have a long list of previous convictions including burglary, robbery and handling stolen goods.

Jamie Adams, defending Faulkner, said: “Heroin has dominated his life for many years but he has been making some efforts to combat the addiction while in custody on remand.”

Ron Mitchell, defending McCourt, added: “This was a significant burglary but there was no confrontation and there is no indication the knives they took would have been used for anything.”

The Recorder, Mr Ray Singh, jailed Faulkner for three years and three months and jailed McCourt for four years.

Dishing out the sentence, Mr Singh told the men: “One can only imagine the shock and distress the family must have felt when they discovered this burglary.”