A BURGLAR who knocked on his victim's door before he crept in through an open window was caught after he left behind medication with his name on.

Heroin addict John Beckwith provided police with another valuable clue at the scene -an imprint of his training shoe on a window sill.

A court heard yesterday that Beckwith thought he was breaking into an empty house because homeowner Jane Simmonds did not answer his knocks on the door.

But the 28-year-old was left as shocked as Ms Simmonds when he walked into her bedroom and found her sitting on a bed having an afternoon cup of tea.

Drug addict Beckwith fled from the three-bedroomed house in Stockton with handfuls of belongings, but dropped a bottle of methadone on the grass outside.

Teesside Crown Court was told that he stole house and car keys, bottles of alcohol, cigarettes and a handbag containing credit cards and building society books.

Shaun Dodds, prosecuting, said Beckwith was arrested two days later and said police found the shoe that left the print at Ms Simmonds' home in Hunwick Walk.

Peter Wishlade, in mitigation, said Beckwith had been evicted from his home days before the break-in when police closed it down under drugs legislation.

He said: "He found himself living on the street, wandering around with no money and with nowhere to reside because none of his family would accommodate him.

"He checked by knocking on the door if anyone was in, but unfortunately, the lady did not hear that.

"He was as surprised as she was by the confrontation.

"He ran out. He had no wish to disturb anyone. He would like to apologise for the distress he would have caused that lady."

Beckwith, of Buchanan Street, Stockton, who has previous convictions for break-ins and thefts, admitted the July 28 burglary and was jailed for 30 months.

Judge Tony Briggs told him: "Sneak-in burglaries are very distressing because, however they are committed, however careful the owner is, one always runs the risk of confronting the householder."

The court heard that since he was on remand, Beckwith has reduced his methadone intake and is now employed in the prison workshop making tables and chairs for other jails.