A BURGLAR who claimed he was only acting as look-out while others entered the property, has been spared prison having supposedly since reformed with the help of a Christian organisation.

Dean Kenyon was pinpointed as having been at the scene of the day-time break-in after a cigarette butt was recovered from the garden of the targeted property in the hamlet of Dalton-le-Dale, near Seaham.

Durham Crown Court was told the householder returned home at 6.30pm to discover the burglary had taken place, on Thursday July 4, last year.

A large amount of jewellery, plus a games console and games, were taken in the burglary, with the overall value of the stolen items estimated at about £8,500, none of which was recovered.

Shaun Dryden, prosecuting, said the cigarette end was found in the back garden and underwent DNA tests which later came up with a positive match with Kenyon, who was arrested in January.

He claimed he was the look-out and remained outside the property while two accomplices were the intruders.

Thirty-one-year-old Kenyon, of Parkside Crescent, Parkside, in Seaham, admitted a charge of burglary when he appeared at a previous hearing before magistrates.

The case was committed for sentence to the crown court, where Kenyon’s counsel, Amrit Jandoo, told the hearing that in the intervening 17 months the defendant has remained out of trouble, having been on bail.

He said his client made full admissions when interviewed and although he mentioned that two others were involved in the break-in, no-one else has been brought to book.

But, Mr Jandoo said police have not countered Kenyon’s claim that he was the look-out while the other pair entered the property.

In the period since the crime Kenyon was said to have “changed his life”, seeking help from two agencies, one a Christian charity, to overcome previous drugs problems.

“He has gone on rehabilitation courses and placements, through the Church group, which has helped him become reunited with his family.”

Mr Jandoo said he has now been welcomed back into the fold by the family, whereas they had “serious concerns” about the defendant last year.

Judge Jonathan Carroll imposed a two-year prison sentence, but suspended it for two years, and ordered Kenyon to perform 250 hours’ unpaid work during that time.

He must also attend 15 rehabilitation activity days, overseen by the Probation Service, and comply with a three-month, 8pm to 8am, electronically-monitored home curfew.

Kenyon must also pay a £140 statutory surcharge.