A WOMAN woke to find a stranger in her living room, at 4.25am, a court was told.

The startled householder asked what he was doing, but the intruder said nothing and walked out of the house by the back door.

Durham Crown Court heard she followed and saw him trying door handles of other homes.

Serial burglar Jason Bainbridge was later detained after residents in Brackenbridge, Shotton Colliery, reported his suspicious activity to police.

He was found in a nearby hotel and his appearance matched that of the suspect seen on local cctv footage, early on October 24.

It emerged he previously also gained access to a detached property in nearby Dene Crescent.

A resident woke to find the front door open and realised her hand bag, credit cards, driving licence and £20 were missing.

Bainbridge was arrested and interviewed but made no replies.

The victims spoke of their shock and feat at their homes being entered at night and one has since had cctv fitted.

Bainbridge, 51, of Cartmell Terrace, Darlington, indicated guilty pleas to two counts of burglary when he appeared before magistrates two days later.

He admitted both charges appearing at the crown court.

The court was told his 43 convictions for 93 offences include three previous house burglaries, the most recent, in 2018, attracting a 38-month prison sentence.

Kelleigh Lodge, mitigating, said, after his release, on October 13, Bainbridge was placed in the bed and breakfast-type accommodation in Shotton Colliery, but, “things did not go well”.

He was subject to thefts and found it hard to cope, leading to him relapsing into drug misuse, which he has struggled with since the age of 16.

Miss Lodge said he relapsed on October 23 and committed the offences early the next morning.

“It’s been something of a wake-up call. He knows that with his drug addiction and due to the amount of time her has spent in prison, means he struggles to cope in the community.”

She said a family member has offered to support him on his release from this sentence and added that Bainbridge offered apologises to his victims.

Imposing a 38-month prison sentence, Judge Ray Singh told Bainbridge: “I reject out of hand that you have any sympathy for those people whose houses you burgled.

“If you had any sympathy you would not go out burgling people’s property.”

Keep up to date with all the latest news on our website, or follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

You can also follow our dedicated County Durham Facebook page for all the latest in the area by clicking here.

For all the top news updates from right across the region straight to your inbox, sign up to our newsletter here.

Have you got a story for us? Contact our newsdesk on newsdesk@nne.co.uk or contact 01325 505054