A THIEF whose crime spree included letting himself into the home of a young mum to steal her purse whilst her child slept upstairs has been jailed.

Hayden Fenwick Blades appeared at court yesterday for a string of offences, including burglary, theft, fraud and threats to cause criminal damage.

The 24-year-old, whose photograph was circulated on social media when he was wanted by police, is now facing Christmas behind bars.

Newton Aycliffe Magistrates' Court heard that one of Blades' victims, a young mother in Murton, found him in her kitchen after he entered via an unlocked door.

Oriana Frame, prosecuting, said: "In respect of the purse theft, the victim described being at home on the evening of November 15 when she found a male, the defendant, in her kitchen. He told her he was sick of his life and felt faint so she gave him a glass of water.

"When her back was turned the defendant took her purse and left. She said she was scared when she found him in her house because her young child was in bed upstairs."

Blades made attempts to use the victim's bank card three times to buy alcohol after taking it from the purse, however they were blocked by the bank.

Ms Frame added: "In relation to the burglaries, they took place a few days later on November 19 and November 21. The defendant entered a garage and a shed and stole a lawn mower and a bike. Other items were also found on the garage roof and damage was caused to both premises.

"The defendant also made threats to set a car on fire and stole a spare tyre from another vehicle on December 3."

Blades pleaded guilty to three counts of theft, two of fraud by misrepresentation, two charges of burglary, making threats to cause criminal damage and failing to surrender at court.

A probation officer told the court that Blades is a chronic cocaine addict with a long-term history of using the drug.

She added: "He was offered one-to-one support during the pandemic period but he said that it was not enough. There is no alternative medication for him. There are some cognitive deficits and he has ADHD."

Greg Flaxon, mitigating, said: "When this man is sober he is a gentleman, and the possibilities are endless. I ask you not to give up on him. He does not want this lifestyle, he is sick of going to the police station all of the time.

"But when people offer him drugs it's like a carrot to a donkey. The term 'spree' has been used to describe his offending and I think that's right.

"However, individually these offences would not warrant a custodial sentence. It's just when you put them together and consider his previous record."

Blades, of Watkin Crescent, Murton, was jailed for 14 weeks. He was also ordered to pay £100 compensation.