A MAN who was involved in the high value burglary of a business in County Durham has been jailed.

Liam Henderson, from Middlestone Moor, near Spennymoor, admitted two charges of burglary, as well as breaching a restraining order on his ex-partner.

The 29-year-old was involved in the burglary of Premier Road Markings, in Salters Way, Sedgefield, which was broken into twice over May's bank holiday weekend.

Chris Baker, prosecuting, said the premises was visited on May 5 and May 6, when two vans, valued at £20,000 were stolen, as well equipment, including drills, tools, CCTV, a TV, a laptop and diesel, valued at £6,000.

A number of vehicle keys were taken at the same time, which were recovered when police visited Henderson's home on June 6.

The Northern Echo:

Premier Road Markings, in Sedgefield Picture: Google Maps

The vans were found on May 7, but the the other items were never recovered.

Durham Crown Court heard the burglary had meant Premier Road Markings could not carry out its work and had impacted on staff, who have had to do a lot of work to get the business back on track.

Henderson, of Heath Road, also admitted to breaching a restraining order, which he was given last September after assaulting his ex-partner.

The court heard he sent her a number of letters from prison, asking her to visit him and telling her he would not give up until she took him back.

After police were informed about the letters, he was warned but sent a Christmas card to her mother and sent further letters, using the wrong name as the prison had blocked him from contacting her.

Elizabeth Muir, mitigating, said he was adamant that his letters had been a response to contact from her and he had not known he was in breach of the order.

She said: "He wishes the court to be assured he would have no further attempt to try and rekindle their relationship."

Referring to the burglary, she added he was not initially aware of the scale of it.

She said: "He is not someone who is known to the court as a professional burglar. This is something he got into that was out of his depth."

Judge Jonathan Carroll sentenced him to 20 months in prison for breaching the restraining order, adding a further 16 months for the burglary.

He said: "You knew exactly what you were doing. I reject the idea in any way you thought you were allowed to write to her.

"It's left her feeling upset and angry and terrified and believing you won't stop.

"Your own behaviour gives that belief some validity."