THE victim of a burglary caught the thief trying to pawn his stolen video camera.
Pauline Bulmer broke into a bedsit near Sunderland city centre after sneaking in through an open window.
Sunderland magistrates heard she grabbed the camcorder, worth £100, and took it to a pawn shop.
But the owner was already waiting for the 53-year-old at the store in Holmeside.
Prosecutor Jeanette Smith said the victim had only been gone for 30 minutes when Bulmer forced her way into the locked room in Azalea Terrace on March 16.
After realising what had happened, he decided to search a nearby second-hand shop.
She said: “He was downstairs in a communal area for his tea, and returned to his room 30 minutes later to find the door open, and realised someone had been in his room, and his digital camera had been taken from a set of drawers.
“He walked to Cash in a Flash pawn shop, and while he was waiting in the queue, Pauline Bulmer came into the shop with the camcorder.
“When she went to the front of the queue and asked how much she would get for it, he stepped forward and asked staff to check it.
“She went to leave the shop, but was detained by police and arrested.”
In a statement read out to the court, the man said he was “hurt” by the theft, as he had suspected other residents.
Bulmer, who lives at Sunderland’s Norfolk Hotel, had not offended for 25 years before the burglary, magistrates heard.
Defending, Tony Southwick said she had made “full and frank admissions” during interview, and pleaded guilty at court.
He added: “She has been suffering from depression for 18 months and is on prescribed Valium. On this particular occasion, she had been drinking, and the combination of the drink and the Valium led her to do this, and she recognises straight away it was a foolish thing to do.
“The only real explanation she can give is that she had property taken from her flat, belonging to a friend.
“She is trying to get a deposit together so they can be together.Money is short and property being stolen, and having to replace it, caused something of a financial burden.”
Sentencing was adjourned.
ing until May 1.