POLICE expert burglar officers have urged people to remain vigilant after successfully putting five more offenders behind bars.

A team of specialist detectives reviewing every burglary across Wearside and South Tyneside have seen five men jailed for a combined term of more than 16 years.

Detective Sergeant Steve Wallace, who spearheads the Southern Burglary Team, said: “Burglary is such an intrusive crime that can have a significant and long-lasting impact on victims and everyone who lives in that community.

“That’s why my team come into work every single morning looking to detect and disrupt this type of criminality, identify offenders and ensure they have their day in court.

“Over the last few weeks, we’ve had some significant sentences handed out to offenders and they can look forward to spending the next few years in a prison cell. That outcome is something we will continue to strive towards – there’s no place for these types of individuals in our society.

“This time of year can often see opportunistic burglars try to use the cover of darkness to their advantage in order to secure a quick win. Over the last few weeks in particular, we have received a number of reports of sneak-in offences – especially in the Millfield area of Sunderland.

“We would always encourage residents to be vigilant and take a few extra steps to help make sure they do not become a victim of this type of criminality."

Anthony Prenelle, 60, was jailed for five years after admitting two counts of burglary at Newcastle Crown Court.

Prenelle of Barmston Way, Washington, targeted two homes on Stockley Road – just yards from his own address – in February last year.

Christopher Robertson, 40, of Chilton Street, Sunderland, was given a three-and-a-half year sentence for two counts of burglary.

Stephen Hendry, 49, of Deerness Road, Hendon, who was caught breaking into the home of an elderly lady in the Millfield area of Sunderlan, was jailed for two years at Newcastle Crown Court.

Anthony Kirtley also received a two-year sentence after he was convicted of two counts of burglary at Newcastle’s Moot Hall.

Kirtley admitted smashing his way into Learning Curve Group’s construction academy on the Pallion Industrial Estate in August last year, leaving the further education centre with a repair bill of more than £8,000.

The 30-year-old, of Cossack Terrace, Sunderland, dropped a blood-stained tissue at the scene after stealing a host of computer equipment and joinery tools. He also admitted a separate burglary at a flat on Lyndhurst Terrace on August 6 last year.

George Jones, 38, of Darey Court, Sunderland, was jailed for three years and seven months after he broke into a house on Egerton Street in Sunderland and stole a TV, a £750 bike and children’s toys.