Sunderland burglar caught on victim’s toilet with his trousers round his ankles

editorial image
Have your say

A RED-FACED burglar was flushed out when he was caught sitting down using the toilet in a house he was raiding.

Mark Johnson had his trousers around his ankles when police officers burst into the upstairs bathroom at the semi-detached home in Sunderland.

Newcastle Crown Court heard the commotion woke the retired householder – who came out of his bedroom to find police officers on his landing and a burglar using his bathroom.

Johnson, 41, was already wanted after sparking a high-speed police chase earlier in the evening where he travelled at more than 40mph over the speed limit while twice the legal limit for driving.

Police out on patrol had lost sight of his Citroen Picasso following the chase through city streets, where he went through red lights and the wrong way around a roundabout on October 22.

Within an hour of the fast pursuit – which was caught on the police car’s camera – coming to an end, Johnson was spotted by a neighbour breaking into a house by smashing a window at Pembrooke Avenue. Prosecutor Bridie Smurthwaite told the court: “Police climbed through the window and went upstairs, shouting ‘police’.

“They woke the occupier, a 64-year-old retired man, who opened his bedroom door and shouted ‘how did you get into the house?’

“Police found the defendant sitting on the toilet with his trousers around his ankles.

“He shouted ‘what are you doing?’.

“He was drunk.”

The court heard the stunned householder confirmed he did not know the stranger using his bathroom and Johnson was arrested.

Johnson, of Fordfield Road, Sunderland, pleaded guilty to burglary, dangerous driving, driving while disqualified, failing to stop for police, using a car without insurance and while unfit through drink.

The householder told police he was “disgusted” to find someone had raided his home while he was asleep.

He said in his statement: “I dread to think what would have happened if the police had not arrived.”

Shaun Routledge, defending, said none of the offences Johnson committed that night were planned.

He added: “I have to accept he entered the hosue while the occupant was at home.

“Nothing was stolen and there was limited damage.

“The offence must have been on impulse.”

Judge Deborah Sherwin sentenced Johnson to 18 months behind bars and banned him from the roads for three years.

The judge said: “It was bad driving, made worse by the fact you were over the limit.

“During the burglary, it was your intention to steal something, heaven knows what.

“The householder was in the house at the time. He was asleep in bed and he was woken by the police coming into the house after you.”