A BUNGLING burglar who left a DNA-smeared screwdriver at the scene of his crime has been jailed.

Karl Hogg, 30, smashed his way into Houghton Comrades Club and Houghton Snooker Club in the early hours of December 2 last year.

The thief stole a safe and cash from a games machine at the premises, which both suffered substantial damage.

Police received a call shortly after 4am on December 2 after the alarm was triggered at Houghton Comrades Club. Officers attended and found a safe– which was empty– had been stolen. A fire door and an internal door had been broken.

Less than three hours later, police got a report that the alarm at Houghton Snooker Club had been set off twice during the night. Upon attending, officers were told a fire door and an alarm panel had been damaged and cash stolen from a games machine.

Police found a screwdriver had been left behind at the snooker club following the burglary and a sample of blood was taken from the bar area of the comrades club. Both items were sent away for analysis and matched to Hogg’s DNA.

Hogg, of Baker Street, Houghton, was subsequently arrested and charged with two counts of burglary. Despite refusing to cooperate with police upon interview, he admitted both offences at South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court on January 31.

He was jailed for 18 weeks and ordered to pay £1,000 in compensation.

Det Con Alex Hadwin, of Northumbria Police, said: “These blatant actions left two of our local establishments with significant repair bills. His behaviour was totally unacceptable and he must now deal with the consequences. By committing these crimes, Hogg not only showed a complete disregard to people’s livelihoods and jobs, but also the local community as a whole.

“We will not tolerate this kind of behaviour and are committed to pursuing perpetrators.”