A THIEF was caught crouched next to a car he had stolen gifts from by police.
Kristopher Elsey was spotted trying car door handles on a street by a resident from her bedroom window.
She called police, who found the 27-year-old at the scene in Harton Grove, South Shields.
He had attempted to throw some of the items into nearby gardens before being arrested.
Sarah Guest, prosecuting, said: “A witness was in bed and heard car door handles being opened but thought it strange that she didn’t hear cars driving away.
“She went to the bedroom window and saw a male walking about opening car doors and carrying a bag.
“She called police.
“He was found crouched next to the Vauxhall Vectra.
“He had thrown some of the items into nearby gardens.
Elsey opened the door of a Vauxhall Vectra and took wrapped presents, cards and a sports holdall bag.
He also got inside a Ford Focus car but didn’t take anything from it.
Elsey admitted charges of theft from a motor vehicle and attempted theft from a motor vehicle at an earlier hearing at South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court.
He was back at the court yesterday for sentencing after the case was adjourned for a pre-sentence report to be compiled.
Geoffrey Forrester, defending, said: “I would invite you to give him full credit for his early guilty plea and go along with the pre-sentence report from the probation service.”
Elsey, of Moreland Road, South Shields, was given a 12-month community order with 12 months’ supervision.
He was also ordered to carry out 100 hours of unpaid work.
Court costs were waived due to Elsey’s lack of means.