A HAPLESS criminal knocked out by the owner of a car he was trying to steal has had his sentence delayed because he is ill.
Lee Halcrow, 38, who has 116 previous convictions, was spotted in the vehicle while it was parked outside the owner’s home in Delaval Court, South Shields, after an interior light came on.
He ran off when the car owner and his brother went out to confront him, but they caught up with him, knocking him unconscious before calling the police.
Halcrow pleaded guilty to a charge of vehicle interference at South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court last week, with the case adjourned until yesterday for a pre-sentence report to be completed by the probation service.
The offence carries a maximum jail sentence of 12 weeks.
But he failed to appear at the hearing, with defence solicitor Christopher Brown telling magistrates he was currently in hospital, with his condition not known.
The case was adjourned until next Thursday.
Halcrow, who is originally from South Shields but has been relocated to Elm Street in Stanley, County Durham, in a bid to help curb his criminality, has a list of convictions dating back to 1989, including more than 60 for theft-related offences.
John McGlone, prosecuting, told the earlier hearing: “The owner was in his home with his brother.
“They noticed the interior light in the car outside and, when they looked out of the window, saw a man in the car.
“The men went outside and asked what he was doing. Halcrow said someone had told him to get it and ran.
“They caught up and knocked him out, and then called for the police.”
Mr McGlone told the court that Halcrow spent three days in hospital because of injuries he received.
He was arrested once he was well enough to be released after treatment.
Christopher Brown, defending, said: “He can’t get away from the fact that he now has 116 convictions.
“He has very little recollection of this at all, because as a result of the pursuit of him, he was hospitalised for three days.
“However, he didn’t cause any damage to the car or steal anything.
“He has moved outside of the area under a resettlement programme, to try and make a positive change in his life.”
Halcrow’s unconditional bail was extended until the hearing next Thursday.