An opportunistic burglar crept into his victim’s home to grab the keys of the car parked outside and drove off with the woman’s handbag.

Anthony Fryett spotted the patio door open at the house and took advantage to steal the woman’s purse, iPhone, and passport, as well as the passport of the victim’s late mother.

The 49-year-old then drove the car to a nearby shop where he used her stolen bank card to spend £24 in a shop.

Teesside Crown Court heard how CCTV footage from the shop helped officers identify the defendant and he was later arrested at his home while the stolen Ford Kuga was recovered nearby.

Tabitha Buck, prosecuting, said the homeowner was woken by her dog needing to go out and left the patio door open to give it free access to her home.

She added: “Between 5.30am and 6am, she heard her dog barking and could hear a car engine revving before hearing a loud bang.

“She looked outside and saw her being driven away. She went downstairs and found her handbag missing.”

Miss Buck said the handbag contained the victim’s iPhone, purse, and the passports while the car was valued at £15,000.

She told the court that the defendant had 50 convictions for 174 offences, including more than 170 for theft and acquisitive crimes.

In a victim impact statement, the woman said the burglary had left her scared to be in her own home and had impacted on her and her family’s life.

The Northern Echo: Anthony FryettAnthony Fryett (Image: Cleveland Police)

Fryett, of Wheatacre Close, Marske, pleaded guilty to burglary and taking a vehicle without the owner’s consent following the incident in the early hours of September 11 this year.

Emma Williams, mitigating, said her client had struggled with drug addiction for a number of years and accepted full responsibility for the burglary.

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She added: “He fell back into addiction in 2018 when his life spiralled out of control. He committed these offences to fund this addiction.”

Judge Chris Smith said: “The homeowner had gone to bed that night feeling secure in her home, perhaps for the last time because in the middle of the night you went into the house when she was asleep upstairs.

“You helped yourself to her handbag which contained the passport belonging to her late mother.”

Fryett was jailed for two years.