A MAN who was carrying a meat cleaver when he burgled a flat while the terrified occupant was in bed has been jailed for one year, nine months.
David Gibson, 34, was said to be under the influence of drink and drugs when he entered the flats in St Abbs Walk, Hartlepool, on the morning of December 19 last year via an unlocked communal door.
Gibson then sneaked into one of the flats through a door that had been left ajar. The occupant, a 19 year-old man, who was in bed, heard noises in his living room but, fearing for his safety, did not investigate and instead called police from his mobile phone.
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They arrived five minutes later and caught Gibson red-handed, putting stolen items into a bag including a Nintendo Wii remote control, £20 and various games cartridges.
The defendant was found to have a six inch long meat cleaver in his pocket, which he claimed he had found in the street.
Prosecuting at Teesside Crown Court, Jenny Haig said Gibson had 30 previous offences to his name, including a previous conviction for a pub burglary in 2003.
Gibson, of Baden Street, Hartlepool, admitted burglary, possession of a bladed article and possession of a small bag of amphetamine which was also found on him.
His barrister Martin Scarborough claimed he had been taking refuge from the cold and had acted on impulse.
There was no suggestion, he said, that Gibson had the meat cleaver on display or intended to use it.
He said he was receiving treatment for a drugs habit.
Judge Peter Armstrong said the offence was so serious that only jail could be justified, but reduced the sentence by a third because of an early guilty plea.
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