A DROP of blood at the scene of a thwarted house break-in has put a regular offender in line for a mandatory three-year prison sentence as a ‘third-strike’ burglar.

Gavin William Wilkinson was confronted by a householder after he tried to gain entry to an address in Rannoch Avenue, Chester-le-Street, late on February 21.

Durham Crown Court heard he attempted to smash a window to get into the property on the Garden Farm Estate, but when met by a resident, he ran from the scene.

The court heard he shed a drop of blood in the confrontation and, as a previous frequent offender in recent years, a forensic match was made with a sample on record, leading to his arrest.

Earlier the same night, 27-year-old Wilkinson had successfully broken into a nearby property in Hambledon Avenue, off Waldridge Road, taking a handbag and its contents.

On his arrest, he was said to have made immediate admissions to police.

Wilkinson, of Cedarwood, Fencehouses, admitted both the burglary and attempted burglary as he made his first appearance in the case at the crown court, by video link from the city’s nearby prison.

As it represents a third domestic burglary, having twice previously committed break-ins to take car keys before driving off in vehicles parked nearby, Wilkinson now stands to receive the mandatory minimum three-year prison sentence.

His most recent prison sentence was one of 32 months, imposed in March 2016, for burglary and aggravated vehicle taking in Great Lumley, near Chester-le-Street, in September 2015.

Judge Christopher Prince said there was no need for a background report on Wilkinson by the Probation Service, but he wanted the householders who were victims in the latest case to be given the chance to make impact statements, prior to the sentencing hearing, next month.Wilkinson will remain on remand in custody prior to sentence on April 20.