A SNEAK burglar took the keys to the car of a woman with mobility issues in a break-in at her home before driving away in the vehicle.
Three-strikes burglar David Christopher Williamson also took the wedding and engagement rings of his victim, among a number of items of jewellery, from the property, in Stanhope Close, Newton Aycliffe, on November 3.
Durham Crown Court was told the woman was at home at the time, unaware of the activities of the intruder.
Paul Cross, prosecuting, said Williamson drove off in the Skoda Roomster, containing the victim’s walking frame and mobility scooter.
Mr Cross said at 6.30pm that day Williamson gave a witness a lift to an Aldi store from where he stole goods worth £8.36, and at 12.30am he was seen driving the car by police.
Williamson abandoned the vehicle and ran away, but after his arrest was taken to hospital.
Mr Cross said following his arrest he kicked and spat at an officer and on the inside of a police vehicle.
When interviewed he claimed he bought the car, thinking it was stolen, as he was told it contained, “a lot of gold”. But he said he planned to sell it soon afterwards.
He remained silent in his police interview, however.
The court was told both the burglary victim’s stolen rings were recovered from the abandoned car.
It was only at a plea hearing, at the court on Friday, that the 38-year-old defendant, of Newton Street, Ferryhill, admitted burglary, theft of the car, the subsequent shoplifting offence. Assaulting an emergency worker and damaging the police vehicle.
He also admitted summary matters of driving the Skoda while uninsured and without a licence.
The court was told he has five previous domestic burglary convictions, but all dating from 2003 and 2004.
Peter Hamill, for Williamson, said although there was a “significant loss” of jewellery it was recovered.
Judge Ray Singh indicated that as a “three-strikes” burglar Williamson stood to get a three-year sentence, but with a deduction of 20-per cent to account for his guilty plea.
The judge told Mr Hamill that he would have to add to the length of the sentence to account for the assault on the police officer.
Mr Hamill said in those circumstances there was little more than he could add.
Judge Singh told Williamson that it was fortunate there was no confrontation with the householder, who was at home at the time, and it was a relief the jewellery items were recovered following his arrest.
He told Williamson, however, he must have caused the victim “great anxiety”.
A total sentence of 930 days, about two years and seven months, was imposed after 60 days was added for kicking and spitting at the officer.