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Burglars tiptoed as woman slept.

Two burglars who tiptoed around a sleeping woman in her Teesside home before driving off in her Mercedes car were each jailed for five years yesterday.

Freda Din fell asleep on the sofa watching TV and she woke at 3am to discover her handbag and laptop computer were missing and her black A-Class Mercedes had gone from the drive.

Her three-bedroom semi's kitchen window was open and cupboards had been searched, said prosecutor Martina Connolly.

While she was still asleep at 2.30am, an officer in Northallerton Road, Thornaby, saw a small black car parked without lights with two men inside, one of whom he recognised.

He returned to Stockton police office and established the man was James Johnson.

Police went to Johnson's home address several times but there was no reply.

But at about 3.40am, following the reporting of the burglary and theft of the Mercedes, they went back and Johnson answered the door. Jodie Hind, 28, was found in the kitchen along with a number of items stolen in the burglary.

Miss Connolly said that Hind tried to escape through a window and both men were arrested.

The laptop was identified and also some bank cards.

Johnson said that Hind had arrived at his home carrying them in a holdall bag.

He denied going to Miss Din's home but when the car was examined a number of fibres were found on the seats which matched their clothing.

Johnson, of Alliance Street, Stockton, and Hind, of Brignall Road, Stockton, admitted theft of the laptop and holdall between June 1 and 4.

They denied the burglary and taking the Y-registration Mercedes without consent but were convicted.

Recorder of Middlesbrough Judge Peter Fox QC told them: "You must have been tiptoeing around a very short distance from her as she slept.

"That is a terrifying prospect. You had the audacity not only to take her property from her house but finding her car keys her car as well from outside her house."

They were both jailed for five years and Hind's sentence will be consecutive to 121 days imprisonment left from a previous sentence.
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Publication:Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)
Date:Sep 25, 2004
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