A SERIAL burglar who stole a widow’s handbag after sneaking into her home has been put behind bars.
John Griffiths crept in while his 66-year-old victim was busy inside her house in August last year.
The 31-year-old was spotted leaving the house in Regent Court, South Shields, by concerned neighbours, who alerted the police.
At Newcastle Crown Court yesterday, Griffiths was jailed for three years and three months after admitting burglary.
Griffiths has convictions for house raids dating back more than a decade, the court heard.
Judge Simon Hickey told him: “No doubt she feels many emotions and is angry that you came into her property and took her belongings. You had no right to do that.
“Fortunately, two neighbours, who were very public-spirited and observant, saw you and you were quickly apprehended.
“Your record is a significant aggravating feature.”
John Wilkinson, defending, said there was no confrontation with the widow during the sneak burglary.
Mr Wilkinson said: “He saw an open door, went in, left and that’s it.”
Griffiths, of no fixed address, is already serving a three-year prison sentence imposed last November for another house raid last August.
It was just three days after the raid at the widow’s home that Griffiths broke into the South Shields home of an 85-year-old man in the early hours and made off with treasured belongings including jewellery.