A PROLIFIC burglar who deliberately targeted a care home and left an 82-year-old woman traumatised after breaking into her room and stealing her handbag bag was yesterday (Tuesday, January 7) starting a four-year jail term.

Durham Crown Court heard the bed-bound victim woke early in the morning thinking there was a nurse in her room, but realised to her horror it was an intruder.

Heroin addict Kevin Aldworth grabbed her bag and fled the scene at St Mary’s Care Home in Chester-le-Street, County Durham, leaving the pensioner screaming for help.

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Sentencing the 31-year-old, of Coundon Grange, near Bishop Auckland, Recorder Sophie Drake said: “In my view it was a wicked thing to do. You must have known it was a care home and you would have known it would have been full of vulnerable and elderly people, but you targeted it.

“You say you do not remember it now because you were under the influence of drugs, but as you know that is absolutely no excuse for what you did.”

Martin Towers, prosecuting, said the victim was awoken at 5.30am on October 16 last year.

He said: “She initially formed the impression that he was a nurse. However, he snatched her bag, which was of some sentimental value, from her bedside.

“He and ran out leaving her shouting and raising the alarm and was seen by members of staff as he made his exit.”

At 7.10am that morning, Aldworth was stopped in the town centre by a vigilant police officer, who noticed his resemblance to a description circulated.  Aldworth had £33 in cash in his possession.

The victim, who said her bag had contained £40 in notes and a further £40 in coins, picked him out in an identity procedure.

The court was told Aldworth had 85 previous convictions, including five burglaries committed since 1999 – most recently being sentenced to 32 months in jail in August 2010.

Scott Smith, mitigating, said Aldworth had shown “some degree of remorse”.

He added, Aldworth had an underlying drug problem and had appeared to be making progress when he relapsed.

Judge Drake said: “I do accept that you say you are disgusted with yourself and I hope that you are - and you should be.

“You were trying to help yourself as far as drugs are concerned, but it has not worked. The court has no option but to send you to prison today.”

Aldworth of Wesley Street, Coundon Grange, pleaded guilty to burglarly.