A callous crook who stole a £1,500 haul of coins from a pensioner during a trio of raids on a Sunderland retirement complex has been locked up for four years.
Christopher Rutherford targeted the homes of three elderly residents – aged 70, 71 and 87 – during a break-in at St Columba Court, in Southwick, on October 26.
The 34-year-old snatched a host of personal possessions as well as the valuable jar of coins during the series of burglaries.
Rutherford, of no fixed abode, was later snared by police – who are sending out a warning to offenders that they will be caught and locked up.
He was sentenced to four years behind bars at Newcastle Crown Court.
Rutherford was one of a total of nine burglars from Sunderland and South Tyneside, who were jailed for a combined total of more than 14 years this month.
Protecting our communities from burglars is important - being broken into causes a great deal of distress.Chief Inspector Jerry Pearson
Karl Dryden, 44, of Station Road, was sentenced to 12 months for two burglaries in Rainton Street, in Millfield, in September last year.
Paul Jeffrey Robinson, 37, from Saint Leonard Street in Sunderland, was given 27 months on April 12 after two burglaries in Chester Road in Millfield, in November last year.
Jason Taylor, 27, from Hume Street in Millfield, was sentenced to 14 months for a burglary in Croft Avenue.
Chief Inspector Jerry Pearson says police are determined to crackdown on offenders leaving behind a trail of misery for residents.
Chf Insp Pearson said: “Protecting our communities from burglars is important, being broken into causes a great deal of distress and we cannot underestimate the impact knowing someone has gone into your home uninvited, and been through personal and sentimental items can have on victims.
“Emotional distress can often be the hidden of cost of burglary, leaving people to feel fearful in their own homes and we will do all we can to pursue those who are responsible and that burglars are put behind bars.”
Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner, Vera Baird, said: “Tackling burglary is an absolute priority for me and I congratulate our officers on this very successful police operation in Sunderland and South Tyneside.
“I hope this sentencing sends out a message loud and clear to those who break into people’s homes and steal from them – you will be caught and locked up.”
Burglary prevention advice is available on the Northumbria Police website, www.northumbria.police.uk.