A burglar, who was tracked down by his victim’s quick thinking when she followed her Apple AirTag to a nearby hotel, has been locked up.

Dylan Balmer crept into the woman’s home through an unlocked door before stealing a handbag and the keys to her car which had the electronic device attached to the fob.

The 28-year-old used the keys to open the car but didn’t steal any of its contents following the early morning raid on the property in Hartlepool.

Teesside Crown Court heard how Balmer was tracked down to the nearby Premier Inn where the victim confronted him about having her keys.

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Shaun Dryden, prosecuting, said Balmer handed her the keys but claimed he had found them before police arrived at Hartlepool Marina and arrested him.

He added: “She approached the defendant and she said – ‘you have my keys’. He retrieved a set of keys from his pocket and said he had found them.

“A woman appeared, possibly his mother and said – ‘he doesn’t usually do things like this’.

“He appeared to under the influence of drink or drugs.”

CCTV footage from the hotel was used to identify the defendant as his clothing matched the footage from what he was wearing at the time of the burglary.

Balmer, of Bowness Close, Hartlepool, pleaded guilty to the burglary which happened on March 26 this year.

Stephen Constantine, mitigating, the defendant was ‘disappointed’ in his behaviour and was ‘remorseful’ for the upset he had caused his victim.

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He added: “He has no recollection of behaving in this manner which he accepts he did do.”

Judge Jonathan Carroll jailed Balmer for 15 months for the ‘unsettling’ burglary.

“It was somebody’s home, she was asleep and home alone at the time,” he said. “she is entitled to feel safe and secure in her own home when she is in bed asleep.

“When you burgle someone’s house, it’s not just an offence against property, it is an offence against the person – it can be very unsettling.”