Sentence on hold for thieves

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A BURGLAR has been given six months to prove he can stay out of trouble after admitting a string of break-ins.

Lee Barnett burgled Homebase in Silksworth Lane and attempted to break into cigarette and vending machine warehouse Sinclair Collis in Washington and Semichem in Sea Road, Fulwell.

The 34-year-old also joined Barry Anderson and Alan Longstaff in a burglary on Sainsbury’s in Ferryhill, Durham Crown Court was told.

David Simpson, prosecuting, explained how Barnett was linked to the incidents through evidence, which included finding his blood at Homebase following the December 2009 attack.

Barnett, of Aldwych Road, Farringdon, and pals Longstaff, 23, of Eldon Terrace, Ferryhill, and Anderson, 36, of Half Moon Lane, Spennymoor, were caught after CCTV showed them enter the Sainsbury’s shop on February 22, 2010, with the intruders caught on camera that night seen to be wearing almost exactly the same outfits.

A search of Anderson’s home led to the discovery of tobacco stored in bags in a cupboard and bags of cigarettes found in the boot of an Audi car, which also included fixtures taken in the raid.

All three were connected through various forensic evidence, including fingerprints, DNA taken from a lager can found in the car and paint found on a crowbar.

Mr Simpson said the total cost of the cigarettes and tobacco taken came to £3,456, with a further £3,000 stolen in scratchcards, with the business putting the cost of the burglary to its trade at £1,800.

All three entered guilty pleas to the charges.

Judge Christopher Prince told Anderson and Barnett their sentences would be deferred until September.

He said: “The one condition is to not commit any offences, that means both of you have six months to show what you can do.

“Barnett, you have got a job, Anderson, you are acting as a single parent at the moment.

“You have both got opportunities to keep out of trouble.”

A bench warrant was put out for Longstaff, who failed to attend the hearing.