A RAIDER burgled a house after its keys were taken by a sneak thief while its door was left open the day before.
Iain Park let himself into the home in the early hours of the morning, while a mum and her grown-up daughter were asleep upstairs and helped himself to their belongings – including the keys to a Mitsubishi Shogun.
Newcastle Crown Court heard the 39-year-old had disturbed the householder while stealing from the property in Washington and was spotted as he made his way out.
The police were quickly contacted and Park was arrested a short distance away after abandoning the vehicle but denied involvement - despite having an earring taken during the raid.
Park, of Thomas Street, Sulgrave, Washington, later admitted burglary.
The victim told police in a statement: “I am very shaken up. I feel violated by the fact a stranger has been in my home and my car.
“We feel vulnerable now.”
The court heard the victims got most of the stolen property back.
It is believed the keys to the house were taken the night before the raid while the door was left open as the victim was gardening.
Glen Gatland, defending, said Park agreed to get involved in the break-in in August because his house was about to be repossessed and he needed to raise money.
Mr Gatland said: “He was told he would get £500 to go in and obtain property from those premises.
“It was against the background of losing the family home he felt tempted by an offer of cash because he thought he could do something to repay the mortgage.
“He accepts it was not the right way to go about it.
“He is sorry for doing it.”
Park had also admitted theft of a doctor’s handbag from her surgery at the Washington Primary Care Centre last November, while he was on a suspended sentence for growing cannabis.
Judge Roger Thorn QC jailed Park for three years and banned him from driving for 18 months.