A BURGLAR put himself at risk of a suspended prison sentence being activated by stealing two bottles of vodka from a shop, only 12 days after appearing in court for the break-in.

Gavin Anthony Short was the only one of four culprits who took part in the burglary of a terraced house in Ferryhill, in December, not to receive an automatic prison sentence at Durham Crown Court, on January 4.

He was given an eight-month prison sentence, suspended for a year, with ten rehabilitation activity day sessions.

But Short, 34, of Church Street, Ferryhill, was back before the court having admitted theft, putting him in breach of the suspended sentence.

Shaun Dryden, prosecuting, said just 12 days after receiving the suspended sentence, Short stole the two litre bottles of vodka, worth £41.98, from a Ferryhill convenience store. He was recognised on store cctv footage and arrested.

Andrew Finlay, mitigating, said at the time Short was still taking cocaine and needed funds to pay for the habit.

Mr Finlay said the rehabilitation part of the sentence had not had chance to take effect, but Short has since engaged and tried to overcome his addiction.

Recorder Ian Harris described it as, “a gross breach” of the suspended sentence, but he agreed to see if Short continues to engage with the rehabilitation order and, so, deferred sentence for three months, until August 12.