A CALLOUS crook who stole a charity box and a £700 camera containing precious family snaps after breaking into a South Tyneside takeaway, was tracked down after leaving a trail of blood at the scene.
Lee Mulholland, 34, broke into Frydays fish and chip, in East Smithy Street, South Shields, by smashing a glass panel on the door.
But he cut his forearm smashing his way into the shop, and DNA from his blood was used by police to help snare him.
Mulholland, of Trent Drive, Jarrow, pleaded guilty to a charge of burglary at South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court yesterday and was jailed for 17 weeks.
The shop is owned by the Qasi family, whose daughter Llaya is fighting for her life after she underwent a heart transplant two years ago.
Her body has rejected the lifesaving organ.
Glenda Beck, prosecuting, said: “At 9.40pm on February 13, a man smashed a glass panel to get access to the premises. He cut his right forearm on the glass and a wound began to bleed.
“Once inside the shop, he is also seen on CCTV carrying out a search.
“He stole £110 in total from two tills and a charity box container and a tip jar with £300 in it.
“He also took a camera worth £700.”
The court heard forensic evidence was taken from the shop and Mulholland was traced through his blood – as well as the CCTV footage.
Mrs Beck added: “He was arrested and made full admissions. He said he owed £300 to a local heroin dealer, who had threatened to smash the windows of his mother’s house.”
The court heard that, at the time of the raid, Mulholland was on bail ahead of a court apperance next month, where he is charged with being a passenger in a vehicle which was taken without consent.
Magistrates also heard he served two jail terms last year for theft and burglary.
Gregg Stephens, defending, said: “He left blood all over the premises and was, inevitably, going to be caught because of that. There is no suggestion there was any pre-planning.
“My submission is that it is unlikely this offence should attract an immediate custodial sentence.”
Michael Conroy, chairman of the magistrates, jailed Mulholland for 17 weeks – reduced from 26 weeks due to his early guilty plea.
He said: “The aggravating factors are the damage to the property, a degree of ransacking, the fact you have previous convictions and that the offence was committed while you were on bail.”