Sunderland burglar jailed after leaving blood-soaked tissue at scene of break-in

A burglar who was caught after leaving tissue covered in his blood at the scene of a raid has been jailed.

Wednesday, 5th February 2020, 2:40 pm
Updated Wednesday, 5th February 2020, 2:40 pm

Anthony Kirtley burgled Learning Curve Group’s skills centre on an industrial estate in Sunderland before breaking into a house in Lyndhurst Terrace, Sunderland four days later.

The 30-year-old has now been locked up for two years.

Newcastle Crown Court heard how Kirtley smashed his way into the commercial premises at Pallion Way on August 12 last year.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Anthony Kirtley, left, was tracked down after a blood-stained tissue was left at the scene of the crime.
Anthony Kirtley, left, was tracked down after a blood-stained tissue was left at the scene of the crime.

Neil Pallister, prosecuting, said a member of staff arrived at the building at 8am to find the place “trashed” with tools, laptops and computer monitors missing after “access gained by smashing a panel in the front door”.

Mr Pallister said: “Total loss including damage was £8850.

“The defendant’s blood was found on toilet roll in the ladies toilets, matched through DNA analysis.”

The court heard that Kirtley was one of a group who had entered the premises but he was the only one to have been caught due to his blood being found at the scene.

Mr Pallister said that four days later, Kirtley burgled an unoccupied flat in Lyndhurst Terrace. He said the previous tenant had moved out a couple of months prior to the incident but had left boxes of items to collect at a later date.

On August 17 police attended the flat and as one officer drove along the road, he noticed Kirtley who “appeared to have a handle of a gun sticking out of his waistband.”

He was arrested on suspicion of burglary and items including the BB gun, jewellery and a bottle of whisky were recovered, which the flat’s previous tenant confirmed to be hers.

Kirtley was also found in possession of cannabis.

Vic Laffey, defending said Kirtley has suffered problems with alcohol and mental health issues including depression, anxiety and agoraphobia.

Mr Laffey said: “He has never been into custody before.

“He clearly has significant problems which are outlined in the pre-sentence report.”

Mr Laffey said these problems have “blighted” Kirtley for many years but added: “He appears to a certain extent to have sorted himself out” and that dependent on the sentence, he could get help through Monkwearmouth Hospital where he had recently been for assessment.

He added that Kirtley did not know what happened to the materials taken from the premises and that he “certainly didn’t benefit from it”.

Kirtley, of Cossack Terrace, Sunderland pleaded guilty to two counts of burglary and possession of cannabis at a earlier hearing.

Judge Christopher Prince said many people have issues similar to Kirtley’s but had not burgled. He said: “You have had those problems with alcohol for some time, you could have addressed them at any time in that period but you didn’t.

“There are thousands of people with depression, possibly millions.”

He referred to Kirtley’s 17 previous convictions and said: “Putting it simply, you had your chance.

“In this case I don’t see any realistic prospect of rehabilitation.”

Judge Prince sentenced Kirtley to two years imprisonment.