A MAN and woman are behind bars for a total of six years after stealing an £8,000 car using keys they took during a house raid.
Tracy Hatch and Lee Shanley claimed to be looking for their lost dog when they were caught lurking around Grange Farm in Jarrow on Friday, April 19.
From there, they went on to burgle a house in Tweed Street, Jarrow, making off with the keys to a Chevrolet Spark motor.
In a failed bid to get away from pursuing police in the stolen car, Shanley drove the wrong way down a slip road onto the A19.
At Newcastle Crown Court yesterday, Judge Penny Moreland sentenced the pair to three years each behind bars.
The judge said: “You made a determined effort to get into the farm premises at Jarrow.
“Having been foiled there by the presence of the occupier, you went out and took car keys from the home of a lady and then her car.”
The judge described Shanley’s driving in the stolen car as “extremely dangerous”.
Shanley, 28, of no fixed address, pleaded guilty to attempted burglary, burglary and dangerous driving.
Hatch, 30, of Suffolk Road, Hebburn, was convicted of attempted burglary, burglary and theft after a trial.
Emma Dowling, prosecuting, told the court during the trial that Shanley and Hatch entered the rear of Grange Farm at about 6.30pm.
She said: “They gained entry into the property over a back wall covered in anti-burglar paint.
“A woman, who lived in a bungalow on the farm with her boyfriend, saw them through her upstairs window and went to challenge the pair.
“By the time she caught up with them they were next to her shed.”
Ms Dowling said that, when challenged, the pair claimed they were looking for their dog.
She added that they were covered in the anti-burglar paint coating the walls of the farm.
“They were ushered off the premises,” she said.
“The burglary took place at Tweed Street, about half a mile away.
“The victim left the door open to let some air into the property, and she was watching TV when she noticed her car being driven away.
“She realised her keys had been taken from inside the property.
“Her neighbour saw a male and a female in the vicinity of her home.
“He saw the male disappear altogether, and the female was looking over the wall, appearing to be on the lookout.
“They both got into the car, which he had believed to be his neighbour’s, and drove off.
“Both defendants were arrested just over an hour or so later.”
Defence barristers said the offences were opportunistic rather than premeditated.