Man jailed for smashing up flat

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A MAN who broke into a flat and smashed up the contents has been jailed for 10 months.

Christopher Willis was found inside the property in St Judes Terrace, South Shields, with another man after a neighbour heard banging noises and the sound of items being broken.

The pair were arrested following the incident on May 23 this year, and Willis admitted being in the flat to police, but claimed it had already been opened.

Willis, 35, pleaded guilty to burglary with intent to cause damage on November 10, and the case was no longer pursued against the other man.

Peter Schofield, prosecuting, said: “Willis has taken responsibility for the damage of around £400.

“There was interior damage as well as damage to the front door.

“The noise caused the neighbour to call the police.”

Mr Schofield told Newcastle Crown Court how Willis has five previous convictions for criminal damage.

Vic Laffey, defending, said: “He has had quite significant problems over the course of the last few months.

“He has been able to get off the drink. Drink is the fault in his life.

“He’s an articulate man, and he is able to hold down work, and he is very caring when he is off the drink.

“He is well aware of his problems and he is well aware that he is the one who has to knuckle down and sort those problems.”

Recorder Robin Mairs told Willis, of Beach Road, South Shields, his behaviour was “destructive” and “stupid” and sentenced him to 10 months in prison.

A three-year community order he was already serving has remained in place.