A RAIDER who walked free after burgling his mother’s sheltered accommodation home twice in three days has now been put behind bars.
Gareth Smith’s mother had to identify him on CCTV, taking property belonging to elderly residents and goods that had been set out to sell for charity at Hallgarth House, in Dean Road, South Shields last November.
Newcastle Crown Court heard Smith, who has 111 offences on his record, told detectives he broke in the first time to fund his drug habit and again to “get back at” his mum after a row.
At a court hearing on December 22 last year Smith was given the “very special chance” of a drugs rehabilitation programme and suspended prison term after he vowed to turn his life around.
But, the same court heard yesterday, that within days of the case the 34-year-old, of Beach Road, South Shields, had abandoned the programme and was caught stealing £25 worth of razor blades from Morrisons in Jarrow.
Mr Recorder Kelly yesterday activated the 20-month suspended term and gave Smith two months on top for the shop theft, which he admitted.
The judge told him: “In the circumstances, I have no alternative.”
Peter Schofield, defending, said Smith “couldn’t cope” with the programme but will continue to try to beat his addiction while behind bars.
In December, the court heard the first raid on the OAP home was on November 7 when a member of staff spotted Smith hiding in a cupboard after he had stolen a rucksack which had been hanging on a mobility scooter as well as some shoes, a hat and gloves.
On November 10, he was caught on CCTV stealing goods, including a CD player belonging to the residents, from the communal lounge.
Prosecutor Jolyon Perks said at the hearing; “His mother was able to identify the person responsible as being her son.”
When police raided Smith’s home at Beach Road, South Shields, they found the stolen CD player and other property that had been taken during the raids.