A FAMILY have been left “terrified” after a couple broke into their home and stole thousands of pounds worth of crystal ornaments, televisions and clothing.

Samantha Jane Park and her partner have both pleaded guilty to burgling a home they knew to be empty, raiding it for 25 crystal ornaments and six crystal glasses worth £3,000.

The 34-year-old and her co-accused – who has already pleaded guilty to burglary and fraud at an earlier court hearing – were discovered to be behind the break-in after attempting to sell the stolen goods via Cash Converters.

Newton Aycliffe Magistrates heard this week that Park, of Lewes Road, Darlington, had originally claimed she had taken just one crystal ornament and entered the property through an open window in July.

Joanne Hesse, prosecuting, said: “The homeowner of the property in Cobden Street moved in in February 2018 and at the time of this offence he was renovating the property one room at a time.

“He and his family had left the property locked and secured and given no one permission to enter the house while it was left.

“On August 6, he’s returned to find that the beading from the conservatory door was pushed aside and a window had been forced open.

“Stolen from inside the property was a large number of crystal ornaments in their boxes, some clothing and televisions.

“The family searched for these items on the Cash Converters website and found some of these items believed to be theirs being sold there.”

The court heard that the man co-accused with Park was found to be wearing a Barbour jacket stolen from the house at the time of his arrest.

However, Rory Todd, mitigating, said that Park was a woman of previous good character, having never troubled the court.

He said: “She lost her job in January and she’s in an abusive relationship.

“She’s effectively become destitute and said that she would spend her evenings strolling through the alleyways to look for cigarettes or other items that she could sell on.

“She has only a very vague recollection of the incident itself as she has alcohol issues which have been there for some time.”

A victim impact statement made by the homeowner was read out in court which said his “wife and children are distressed and terrified” following the burglary.

Park pleaded guilty to burglary and fraud by false representative over the sale of the stolen goods via Cash Converters.

She will appear alongside her partner for sentencing at Teesside Crown Court later this month and was granted conditional bail to remain at an address in Lewes Road between 8pm and 8am each day.