A MAN was "caught red-handed" when he broke into a shop, forcing it to close temporarily due to asbestos concerns, has been jailed.

Ali Essanoor climbed onto the roof of the Sainsbury's shop in Clifton Road, Darlington, before breaking in and stealing more than £600 from the tills.

However, his burglary success was shortlived as he was arrested when he got stuck on the roof of the shop as he attempted to flee the scene.

Teesside Crown Court heard that the 27-year-old targeted the shop at around 11.50pm on December 17.

Emma Atkinson, prosecuting, said Essanoor pleaded guilty to burglary as well as an unconnected charge of malicious communication after sending a former friend a barrage of threatening and abusive messages.

Dealing with the burglary, she said: "He was caught red-handed, almost literally with his hand in the till. The police and fire brigade arrived at the scene, he was found on the roof and the stolen money was recovered."

It is estimated that he caused more than £800 worth of damage to the shop, she added.

In the malicious communication charge, Miss Atkinson told the court that Essanoor had fallen out with a friend before bombarding him a number of "vile and abusive" messages in October last year.

During the exchange Essanoor threatened the man and his family with violence before abusing the victim's mother.

Essanoor, of Grange Road, Darlington, appeared in court via videolink from Durham Prison following his guilty pleas to both charges.

In mitigation, Paul Green, said his client was facing the prospect of being homeless if he was released from custody but added that the prison service was working with Essanoor to secure him some accommodation.

Mr Green added: "Things seem to have calmed down between the defendant and the complainant during his period on remand."

Judge Paul Watson QC jailed Essanoor for six months for malicious communication and a further consecutive sentence of four months for the burglary.

He said: "You sent him a series a series of horrific messages, threatening to intimidate and assault him and his family. There was a number of messages designed to intimidate and humiliate him."