A YOUNG couple were woken on Christmas morning by an armed robber standing in their bedroom holding a knife, demanding money, a court heard.

Lee Michael Hocking told the male resident, who recognised him: “Give me the money or you are going to be hurt”, claiming there was a van outside in which he would be taken away.

Durham Crown Court heard that Hocking was displaying “bizarre behaviour”, telling the couple he broke in via a bathroom window and then he asked the male if he wanted to buy a watch which he showed him.

He also tried to take the front door key, but the male resident managed to snatch it from Hocking, who came back twice more, the first time to ask for a lift and then to retrieve a carrier bag.

The victim, who said he had known Hocking since he was 15, later noticed £10 was missing.

Chris Baker, prosecuting, said the female resident was “distraught” and she said that on telling Hocking there was a young child in the house he told her he was, “not bothered”.

Mr Baker said she recalled that he was behaving aggressively, threatening to stab her partner and he claimed there were two other men outside the property.

When arrested Hocking claimed he was not responsible.

But the defendant, 32, of Harrogate Terrace, Murton, admitted aggravated burglary at a hearing earlier this month.

He was said to have 33 convictions for 44 offences, the most recent of which was the theft of money from his own grandmother’s home, also on Christmas Day, for which he was jailed for eight weeks by magistrates.

Hocking has also served sentences as a three-strike burglar.

Jane Waugh, for Hocking, described his behaviour as, “rather odd”, as he kept coming and going, but the defendant accepted he did have knife, although he said he did not know what he was doing and could not fully recall all events that morning, including taking the money.

But Miss Waugh said Hocking claimed that the victim had taken his uncle’s motorbike and he was asking for it back or he would hurt him.

She added that Hocking is prescribed medication for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder but does not think he was taking it at the time of his latest crime.

Imposing a prison sentence of seven-and-a-half years, Judge James Adkin told Hocking: “You are a professional burglar, but this is a slightly odd offence.

“Your behaviour was strange. Whether that was as a result of intoxication or not, I don’t know.”