A MAN has been jailed for three years after carrying out a distraction burglary at the home of a woman in her 70s.

Darren Wilkinson, 35, of Sidings Place, Houghton-le-Spring, was sentenced to three years and four months in jail at Durham Crown Court today, after he was found guilty of one count of burglary following a trial.

At around 7.30pm on March 12, Wilkinson attended the home of a woman in Houghton-le-Spring.

The 75-year-old answered the door believing it to be her son.

Wilkinson, who was known to her, distracted her and attempted to steal a DVD player. She challenged him and asked him to leave.

A short while later she discovered her mobile phone and purse were missing.

Detective Constable Sarah Hindmarsh, investigating officer, said: “This incident has been very distressing (for the victim) and I am pleased that this offender has been given a sentence which reflects the nature of his crime.

"Hopefully she will now feel safe in her own home.

“Distraction burglary, especially of the more vulnerable members of our community, is extremely cruel and callous.”

The victim said: “I want to thank the police for their help in bringing justice.”