LAP-TOP computers were stolen by two burglars who took a “refreshment break” at a hospital after walking ten miles following a court appearance.

John William Wilson and Lee Irving appeared before North Durham magistrates, in Consett, on October 15, charged with burglary involving various foodstuffs from the In Shanghai restaurant, in The Gates, Durham.

Durham Crown Court heard the case was adjourned and the pair left court after being bailed.

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Approaching Durham, they got into Lanchester Road Hospital, a mental health facility, through a ground floor window.

Chris Williamson, prosecuting, said they made a cup of tea in the kitchen, before forcing a cupboard door in the board room and taking three lap-top computers, each worth £600.

Two dayslater a detective  spotted the pair carrying bulky items under clothing in Bearpark, near Durham.

Each was found with a lap-top, while Irving pointed out where the third was hidden in the hospital grounds.

Both Irving, of Camperdown, West Denton, Newcastle, and Wilson, of no fixed abode, admitted burglary.

The court heard 36-year-old Wilson previous offences include 50 burglaries.

But 21-year-old Irving’s record features 27 offences, all since July last year.

Scott Smith, for Wilson, said: “It’s clear his itinerant lifestyle has been a problem."

Lorraine Mustard, for Irving, said he had “gone off the rails” over the last 15 months.

Judge Penny Moreland jailed both for six months, but gave Irving “one last chance”, suspending his sentence for two years, during which he will be subject of probation supervision.

Both were also ordered to pay £80 victim surcharge.