A mother who burgled an occupied house was told she would have been sent straight to jail if she "were a man" by a judge.
Terry Remmer sneaked into the house of a "frightened" older man, in Washington in the early hours of August 14 last year and made off with an abundance of goods.
However Recorder Mark Lowe, QC, handed the 23-year-old a suspended sentence - warning her that she would have been jailed if she was a man.
Prosecutor Paul Newcombe said: "This case was an occupied dwelling house burglary and the occupant was disturbed.
"He awoke at 5am to hear someone was creeping around the house. He heard items being moved and he was frightened.
"The entry was gained through an insecure patio door."
Mr Newcombe told the court how the victim was so terrified, that instead of going down to confront the burglar himself, he text his daughter to ask for her help.
When his daughter and her boyfriend arrived, Remmer had already fled the scene.
Mr Newcombe explained how just six hours later, the mother-of-one was spotted selling one of the stolen items, a camera, at an electrical store in Sunderland.
Newcastle Crown Court heard how she has a number of previous convictions, including for shoplifting and theft.
She pleaded guilty to a charge of dwelling house burglary.
Stuart Graham, defending, said that Remmer turned to drugs after developing post traumatic stress disorder.
But Newcastle Crown Court heard that she is now completely clean from heroin and has cut down from 125g of methadone a day to just 10g.
Mr Graham said: "It is a tragic story. Her ex partner introduced her to heroin.
"He persuaded her that she would feel better if she took it, but now she has conquered it.
"She is deeply remorseful. She said that going into that house was a crazy thing to do."
Sentencing her to 18 months suspended for 18 months, Recorder Lowe said: "The gravity is that if you were a man you would be going to prison today.
"But I have to take into account not only your welfare but the welfare of your child."
Remmer, of Waterloo Walk, Washington, was also ordered to complete a 30 day rehabilitation requirement and was ordered to pay a statutory surcharge.