Burglar fuelled by drug cocktail strikes disabled couple’s home

A TEENAGER who broke into a disabled couple’s home was spared jail because he had been held on remand since February.

Casey Bell was fuelled by drink and drugs when he used a garden gnome to smash the kitchen window of the house in Campbell Park Road, Hebburn, while the couple were having a weekend away.

The 18-year-old helped himself to jewellery, watches, two TVs and about £50 in cash, before making off in their Peugeot motorhome, which was parked on the driveway.

He later returned to the house and stole the couple’s Daewoo car.

Bell, of Dock Street, South Shields, was sentenced at Newcastle Crown Court after he had earlier admitted to the burglary, which took place on January 27.

Michael Bunch, prosecuting, said: “The address had been vacated by the occupants who are both registered as disabled.

“The kitchen window had been broken by using a garden gnome. Two sets of keys were missing, as well as two television sets, coin jars and jewellery.”

The court heard how Bell made off in the couple’s motorhome, before returning to steal their car, after picking up the keys from inside the house.

The stolen items were recovered, and Bell was identified after his fingerprints were found on one of the TV sets.

Mr Bunch added: “He was arrested and made no reply to questions that were put to him.” In a police statement, which was read out in court, one of the victims said: “It sickens me that someone can come into my home and take items while I am away.”

David Comb, defending, said Bell is a diabetic and committed the burglary after failing to take his insulin.

He added: “He fully accepts responsibility, and regrets what he did.

“This was impulsive behaviour brought about by him being under the influence of a cocktail of alcohol and crack cocaine.”

Mr Comb told the court that Bell had been in custody for the offence since February.

Judge Paul Sloan sentenced Bell to a 12-month supervision order, which includes drug rehabilitation treatment.

He said: “If you had not been remanded in custody, you would be going to prison immediately.

“If you breach the conditions of the order you will be re-sentenced for this offence and, likely as not, be sent back to custody.”

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