A THIEF who ransacked the South Tyneside home of a 97-year-old woman while she was in hospital has been put behind bars.
Serial burglar Nigel Dunn smashed his way into the woman’s bungalow in Jarrow, which he targeted because it was obvious an old person lived there, and made off with her bus pass and cash.
The 44-year-old, out on licence from prison for a previous raid, took the victim’s purse, which contained her bus pass and £16 in cash.
He was caught after DNA taken from blood on the window he smashed was matched to him.
Dunn, pleaded guilty to burglary.
The court heard he had convictions for 21 previous raids.
Miss Recorder Deborah Sherwin sentenced him to four years behind bars.
The Judge told him: “You deliberately targeted the home which you expected an elderly person to be living.
“I am sure it must have been spelled out to you how serious the court views such offences.
“On this occasion your victim was a 97-year-old lady.
“Mercifully she was in hospital at the time so there was no danger of any confrontation but you were not to know that.
“The effect upon her, if she knows about it, is likely to have been upsetting.
“I accept it is unlikely you knew she was as old as 97 but having seen the photographs of her property, I don’t think there can be any suggestion it was anything other than an elderly person living in the bungalow”
Paul Cross, defending, said Dunn, of Fellside, Chester le Street, commits crimes as an inappropriate response to stress.
He added: “He denies targeting this as an elderly person’s home although the burglaries from some time ago were elderly people.”