VICTIM Sharon Bulman said Steven Gill had invaded her family’s privacy in “the worst possible way”.

Sharon was speaking after CCTV caught their neighbour rifling through her underwear drawer and performing a sex act in her bedroom.

Gill appeared at Teesside Crown Court, after admitting burglary and stalking, and was given a 12-month suspended jail sentence, ordered to attend a sex offenders’ treatment programme, carry out 150 hours of unpaid work, pay £200 costs and £500 compensation to Sharon.

She and husband James and their daughter moved into their three-storey townhouse in Skelton when it was first built seven years ago, with Gill and wife Karen moving in a short while later.

The couples became friends with Gill offering to do odd jobs and look after their daughter if they were out.

But 18 months ago, Sharon started to become suspicious of his reasons for being helpful.

She said: “The first time I wondered what was going on was one day that he was in having a coffee and I went upstairs to change into my running gear which was laid out on the landing.

“As I got ready I saw movement and caught sight of Steve running down the stairs. He later explained that he had gone up to look at our carpet which we’d had cleaned, but now, of course, I believe differently.

“On another day as I was driving out of the estate, I looked in my car’s rear view mirror and got a shock because I thought I saw a figure standing in our house.

“I would very often get texts saying: “Hello lovely Sharon, when do you think you’ll be getting home?”

“At the time I didn’t think much of it, just that he was being friendly, but again it makes sense now because he wanted to know how much time he had undisturbed.

“It was absolutely awful to see him on the camera walk into our room as though he owned the place, close the curtains, have a peep outside and then head straight for my underwear drawer. It looked like something he’d become used to doing.

“The whole thing is really creepy and unsettling. He was given a key because he offered to help us while we were on holiday in Cyprus but he’s abused our trust in the worst possible way.

“Lots of people rely on good neighbours for help but you never expect someone to do something so horrible, it’s been really hard to deal with.”