A REGULAR burglar sneaked into a grandmother’s home late at night to steal her property, a court heard.

The woman was alone watching television in the house in West Pelton, near Chester-le-Street when she heard noise downstairs at 11.20pm on December 28.

Durham Crown Court heard that the terrified woman shouted: “Who’s in my house?”

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Andrew Finlay, prosecuting, said she heard footsteps and a male voice shouted: “Stay where you are”.

The woman rang police and ventured downstairs, to find the kitchen door open.

Two mobile phones, perfume and clothing, worth a total of £1,134, were missing.

Mr Finlay said police arrested defendants Gavin Cummings and Hannah Schofield nearby and found the stolen items, with balaclava masks and gloves in a bag she was carrying.

Cummings, 31, of East Street, Grange Villa, near Chester-le-Street, admitted burglary., while Schofield, 28, of Houghtonside, Houghton-le-Spring, admitted handling stolen goods.

The court heard Cummings has served several prison sentences for house burglaries and was on licence from a previous jail term at the time of the latest break-in.

Mr Finlay said the latest victim is now anxious at home and no longer feels it safe to allow her grandchildren to stay over at her home.

Tony Davis, for Cummings, told the court: “It’s a typical sneak, night-time burglary, in similar fashion to those he committed previously.

“It’s acquisitive crime to fund a drug addiction.”

Lorraine Mustard, for Schofield, told the court she has no previous convictions, but has “personal difficulties”.

Her main culpability was a quiet acceptance of what Cummings was doing.

Jailing Cummings for 45 months, Judge Simon Hickey said he appeared to have had an influence that night over his criminally unsophisticated co-accused, Schofield, who was sent to prison for six months.