A BUNGLING burglar was knocked out by a passerby who wrestled his weapon off him before hitting him over the head.

Malcolm Readman, and an unknown accomplice, broke into the Caremark unit at the Bow Street Business Centre in Guisborough last year and stole £1,000 worth of goods.

But as he tried to flee the scene Readman was confronted by the man, who a judge said 'turned out to be harder' than him.

Teesside Crown Court heard the 39-year-old squared up to the witness before being overpowered and hit over the head with one of the weapons used in the burglary.

Emma Atkinson, prosecuting, said the pair turned up at their target in a white van with false number plates, which was later found burned out by police.

Readman was arrested near to the scene after officers saw him stumbling about in a dazed state with blood coming from his wound, which tied him to the burglary.

She said: "The male responded by disarming the defendant and then turning that (the weapon) against the defendant and causing an injury which subsequently bled and it was from that blood left at the scene that the defendant was later identified as being present at the scene."

The burglars stole mobile phones, £137 cash, and other goods totalling around £1,000 from the unit, which helps support elderly and vulnerable people in the town.

Miss Atkinson said Readman has 20 convictions for 48 offences, including possession with intent to supply heroin, theft and causing injury through dangerous driving.

Readman, of Broadway, Grangetown, pleaded to the burglary on December 8 last year.

His barrister, Nigel Soppitt, said his client had suffered a fractured eye socket after being hit with his own weapon and he still suffers dizzy spells after being knocked unconscious.

He said Broadway had been coerced into taking part in the burglary and 'regretted' taking part in the raid.

"It was a clumsy and obvious intrusion into this officer," he said. "Damage has been caused and possessions taken, from in the region of £1,000 worth."

Sentencing the burglar, Judge Jonathan Carroll said he had gone out on a 'pre-planned' expedition targeting the building but got more than he bargained for.

He said: "You came out and you were confronted by a bystanders who had seen what was going on. The sensible thing to do was just give yourself up but if you weren't brave enough or man enough to just run off and leave him.

"You didn't, you attacked him and you attacked him with a weapon.

"The fact is he turned out to be a little bit harder than you were expecting, he retaliated in kind and you came out worse off.

"That's no mitigation, it's just the way it is if you pick a fight with someone and they turn out to be harder than you – you suffer the consequences."

Readman was sentenced to 16 months in custody.

He said