A DRUG addled would-be burglar’s ‘audacious’ attempt to raid a pawnbroker’s shop has been jailed after leaving two workers terrified as he launched a determined effort to smash a window with a hammer.

Leigh Jaffray battered the security window at least 25 times as he attempted to get his hands on watches and jewellery on display in a Ramsdens shop.

The 46-year-old and an unidentified accomplice slipped into the shop when another customer was leaving the secured premises on Eston High Street.

Teesside Crown Court heard how Jaffray left empty handed after failing to smash his way through the reinforced window when the pair targeted the shop at around lunchtime on December 7 last year.

Shaun Dryden, prosecuting, said: "One man kept the door open while the defendant repeatedly struck the glass screen with a hammer a number of times – at least 15 times blows followed by a slight pause and then a further ten blows. The glass screen didn't break."

Mr Dryden said the two women behind the counter had been left scared by the attempted burglary with one saying she had been unable to sleep as a result.

Jaffray, of Cargo Fleet Lane, Middlesbrough, pleaded guilty to attempted burglary ahead of a potential trial.

John Nixon, in mitigation, said his client had no recollection of his 'audacious' attempt to commit the attempted burglary.

He said: "The pre-sentence report makes reference to the death of his nephew some years ago, he says he was deeply affected by that and has struggled ever since.

"At the time he committed this offence his mental state was poor indeed."

The judge, Recorder Richard Woolfall, said he had no other option but to jail Jaffray and sentenced him to 22 months in custody.

"You have a long record for offending, you have 127 previous offences," he said.

"There were a large number of blows at the screen in the effort to get through it. The CPS (Crown Prosecution Service) agreed that the offence was attempted burglary but you could have faced the far more serious charge of attempted robbery."

He said the attempted robbery charge wasn't progressed as there were no threats made to the staff.

"That is little comfort to the two women behind the screen having you hammer repeatedly and determinedly to get the jewellery from behind the screen."