A WOMAN under the influence of a prescribed sedative stole personal items from the home of an elderly neighbour, a court heard.

Sally Ingleby claimed she needed to use the toilet after barging into the man’s home, in Dalton Crescent, Shildon, at 9am on March 6.

Durham Crown Court was told the householder, who lived alone, pointed her to the bathroom at the top of the stairs, but then heard footsteps walking round for several minutes, including in his bedroom.

Loading article content

Shaun Dryden, prosecuting, said when Ingleby came back downstairs she asked for a cigarette, which she was given, but the man told her he needed to go out, and so she accompanied him from the house.

But Mr Dryden said she left the door open and returned to help herself to several of his possessions while he was still away from home.

Mr Dryden said the elderly man’s son had seen Ingleby in the property, with her partner, Jason Todd, on the path outside, at about 9.30am.

He approached and asked Ingleby to leave, but she went back in, “to collect her phone”.

Mr Dryden said when she did leave, it was not apparent that she was carrying anything other than the phone, although it later emerged items had been taken, including personal documents, two cash cards and cigarettes.

Ingleby and Tood were arrested later that day, at their home in nearby Bouch Street, following an alleged affray involving Todd threatening another neighbour.

Items taken from the burgled house were recovered, several from a bin liner and a kitchen cupboard, while a bank card bearing the victim’s name was found in Ingleby’s hand bag.

Todd’s finger print was found on some of the recovered documents.

Ingleby claimed to have been invited into the man’s house, given a drink and a cigarette, but while he was away she admitted going back and grabbing documents, some of which she gave to Todd, intending to hand them back later.

Forty-year-old Ingleby admitted burglary at a hearing in March, since when she has remained in custody.

Todd, 38, admitted handling stolen goods, and, in separate incidents, theft of two pairs of glasses, possessing a bladed article in public and affray.

Kieran Rainey, for Ingleby, said she was under the influence of nitrazepam, prescribed medication, and, at the time of the offence, described herself as being, “in a bubble”.

Martin Towers, for Todd, said he had problems with amphetamines, which he has managed to overcome while in custody.

Judge Penny Moreland said Ingleby targeted the vulnerable victim, while under the influence of medication, and was assisted in removing items by Todd.

She jailed Ingleby for 16 months and imposed a total two year prison sentence on Todd.