A woman in the grip of a drug addiction took part in a break-in at a property when the resident was away from home.

No-one was present when Julie Jones and an accomplice entered the flat in School Street, Easington Colliery, on Thursday March 7.

Durham Crown Court was told the break-in was only discovered the following day by the person looking after the property, in the absence of the resident, who was staying with relatives.

Julie Jones.Julie Jones. (Image: Durham Constabulary)

Philip Morley, prosecuting, said CCTV footage showed two people going into the address at about 5.30pm, on March 7.

Items taken included a TV set, a record player, an Alexa device, a vacuum cleaner, an air fryer, an Irish shamrock and clothing.

But Mr Morley said there was also a pocket watch of sentimental value and the victim estimated the whole haul of items was worth approximately £500.

Mr Morley said the kitchen window was found smashed and various cupboards and doors were opened, with rubbish found spread across the living room.

The defendant was linked to the offence after scientific analysis of blood found at the property, leading to her arrest, two months later.

But the court heard in the intervening period she was dealt with for a further offence, of vehicle interference, for which she has since received a community order.

Jones, who appeared for the hearing via video link from Low Newton Women’s Prison, Durham, admitted a charge of burglary.

In an impact statement, the victim said the offence left him feeling unsafe and, “on edge”, in his home.

He said he was scared when he is in his property and constantly checks out of the windows, and ensures doors are locked in case someone else tries to break in.

(Image: The Northern Echo)

The court heard the 39-year-old defendant, of Bourne Street, Easington Colliery, has 49 convictions for 102 offences, 39 of them for theft and similar crimes, including some burglaries, one previously of a domestic property.

Tony Davis, in mitigation, told the court: “She maintains at the time of the burglary it was very much peer-influenced and drug-related, which she has been getting to grips with since the recent court order was imposed.

“She has had very severe drugs problems and she’s trying to address them.

“Another individual came to her home and persuaded her to assist in the burglary.”

Judge Jo Kidd told Mr Davis: “The time in prison may assist in allowing her to stay drug free.”

Mr Davis replied: “I anticipate the defendant would say she is now in a better position.”

He said she had been shoplifting prior to the burglary to try to feed her addiction.

Judge Kidd told Jones the victim is worried to leave home in case a burglary takes place but is also fearful in remaining there because it has been burgled.

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She told Jones it was her second conviction for dwelling burglary against a background of class A drug addiction.

“You were clearly in the grips of an untreated drug addiction over which, on the face of it, not a great deal of work has been done.”

Imposing an 18-month prison sentence, Judge Kidd told Jones: “I can’t draw back from a sentence of immediate custody.”