A BURGLAR handed himself in to police within hours of his raid - because he feared he was so out-of-control he would go on a crime spree.

Lee James walked into a police station and told shocked officers he wanted to be arrested before he struck again and got a longer jail sentence.

James, 35, took £100 worth of crack cocaine and also heroin after losing his job, arguing with his girlfriend and being thrown out of their home.

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His lawyer told Teesside Crown Court yesterday that James felt as though he had lost everything but came to his senses soon after the burglary.

He told police in November: "I want to be arrested . . . I am going to get caught any way, so I have come in. I'm back on the gear (drugs).

Jenny Haigh, prosecuting, said: "He said he knew he would have committed more offences and ended up doing a very long stretch inside.

"He said he committed it because he was homeless and back on drugs. He said he had fallen out with his girlfriend and was back on the streets."

Robert Mochrie, mitigating, said: "What is, perhaps, exceptional in this case is the manner in which the defendant dealt with the realisation.

"It must have taken courage for him to go immediately to the police. It was very short-lived because he handed himself in within hours."

James, of Marshall Avenue, Middlesbrough, admitted the November 9 burglary and was jailed for 14 months by Judge John Walford.

The judge told him: "What makes this an unusual case is that within a comparatively short period of time, showing a degree of self-awareness, realising your potential for further harm, you handed yourself in.

"That could not undo the damage you had caused to the householders, but it does indicate it only good self-awareness but a commendable desire to minimise the potential for harm that you recognised."

The house in Cranfield Avenue, Middlesbrough, was broken into while a couple and their young daughter were out for the afternoon.

They returned to find their 42-inch flat-screen television - sold by James to buy more drugs - and patio door keys missing.

In an impact statement, the family said they were relieved the raider was quickly arrested and would not be returning with the key.