A BURGLAR who smashed a stolen car into a lamppost moments after raiding their home faces jail – after forensic experts found his blood on the air bag.

David Hawkes, 38, crept into a house on Howarth Street, in Sunderland, in the early hours of January 7 while the occupants were asleep upstairs.

After stealing the keys to their Nissan Micra parked outside, Hawkes drove off, but crashed the car just a mile away on Tudor Grove and made off on foot.

The force of the smash resulted in the air bag to inflate and when officers found the abandoned car they called forensic experts to carry out checks inside the mangled vehicle.

The Force’s Scientific Support Unit spotted a tiny drop of blood on the air bag, which came back to match the DNA of 38-year-old Hawkes.

Hawkes, who initially insisted he had nothing to do with the crime, admitted burglary at Newcastle Crown Court. He is due to be sentenced at the same court on November 6.

Detective Constable Neil Swainston, of Northumbria Police, said: “David Hawkes is a prolific criminal who has been a drain on our resources for some time.

“He has been a thorn in the side of families across Sunderland as a result of his selfish and frequent offending.

“On the morning in question, he snuck into a family home and swiped the keys to a car parked outside.

“Before the victim had even realised what had happened, police received a call from a member of the public saying a Nissan had crashed into a lamppost – but the driver had already made off from the scene.

“That allowed our fantastic forensic experts to do what they do best. This case once again highlights how the tiniest drop of blood, saliva, sweat or other bodily fluid can be detected and used to prove somebody’s guilt.

“Families across Sunderland can now sleep easier knowing Hawkes has been taken off the streets, and he has been remanded in custody until he is sentenced later this year.”