A DRUG addict who stole a mobile phone from a neighbour promised to return it but instead went to steal the laptop containing CCTV footage of his crime.

Thomas Pye, 29, and his brother, Gareth, were invited into the 61-year-old’s house for a cigarette on July 7 and chatted for about half an hour.

When they left the man noticed his tablet computer and mobile phone had been taken.

He checked the video cameras he has set up and found Thomas Pye had stolen his phone while his brother took the tablet.

The following day he saw Thomas Pye near their home in Howlish View, Coundon, near Bishop Auckland, and told him about the evidence on his computer.

He asked for it back and was told he would be five minutes, but when he got home he found his door has been smashed in and saw Pye walking down his stairs with the laptop before he left the property.

Shaun Dryden, prosecuting at Durham Crown Court said: “It appears that the defendant has been to the property to deliberately burgle it, to steal the footage that had been taken the day before of the theft.

“He said he knew the theft incident had been recorded on a laptop and he had gone to the property to steal that laptop.”

The court heard he sold the computer, a charger and USB stick with the video evidence on for £30 so he could buy drugs.

Pye pleaded guilty to one count of theft and another of burglary.

Mitigating, Martin Towers said: “It is a story you will have heard before. Drugs have been this relatively young man’s downfall.

“He is sorry for what he did.”

The court was told his brother admitted theft at a separate hearing before magistrates and was given a community order.

Pye, who has 27 previous convictions for 41 offences, committed the crimes while on licence for a previous burglary and was in breach of a community order.

He was jailed for 40 months by Judge Jonathan Carroll.

The judge said: “You were invited into his house and you left taking his property.

“All of this was caught on CCTV and he knew full well who had done it.

“He told you and all he was asking for was for his phone back so you asked for five minutes.

“You use that time to target his house and he caught you red-handed.

“You have left a 61-year-old man feeling unsafe and insecure in his own home.”