A MUM snared a burglar after spotting her stolen mobile phone in a second-hand shop – but was left stunned when she discovered the thief was her own son.
Jack Reed, 19, used a spare key to get into his mum’s house before snatching a haul of three mobile phones, a computer tablet, a and games console.
His mum believed she had been the victim of a random raid when she returned home in Beamish Road, Jarrow, to find the door unlocked and all the items missing.
But it was only when she went hunting for a new mobile to replace the stolen one that she discovered the shocking truth.
As she hunted through the second-hand stock at the CEX Exchange in King Street, South Shields, she came across a phone which looked like her own.
Further examination revealed it had the same security number, and police were able to trace the man who sold it – who had bought the phone from her own son.
Keith Laidlaw, prosecuting, said: “The burglary at Breamish Street in Jarrow. The injured party had noticed the spare key to the rear patio door was missing on August 4.
“Then when she returned home on August 13, she found the doors to the property were insecure and found property missing from the master bedroom and the living room.
“Three Samsung phones, a Microsoft Surface Pro tablet and a Nintendo DS and an assortment of games had been taken.”
The total value of the goods taken was £2,748.
Mr Laidlaw added: “The injured party attended the CEX exchange store on August 14 and saw one of the phones, valued at £300, on display. She was able to identify the phone due to its identity number.
“Police inquiries found the person who sold the phone to the store had himself purchased it from Jack Reed.”
When he was arrested by police, Reed admitted the burglary – saying he had fallen out with his stepdad and decided to take items belonging to him.
All items were recovered, apart from the Nintendo DS and games, which belonged to Reed’s brother, valued at a total of £460.
Reed admitted the burglary at an earlier hearing at South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court – and was back in the dock for sentencing.
The court heard that Reed also stole a Henry vacuum cleaner from the Changing Lives supported accommodation block, in Whitehead Street, on August 15.
He had been evicted from his room – but took the hoover when allowed to return to collect his belongings.
Reed also admitted stealing £75 worth of DVDs from BHS in Sunderland on August 21, fragrances valued at £45 from TK Maxx in the city, aftershave valued at £54 from Debenhams in Newcastle on September 10 and a pair of portable speakers worth £23 each from Morrisons, in Blyth, on December 10.
Michelle Stonley, defending, said: “He is 19 and he has lived a chaotic and unstable lifestyle since the age of 16, when he was asked to leave the family home. Since then he has lived in various hostels and has had 18 different addresses.
“That has caused financial and employment difficulties.
“He does not seek to blame these circumstances for his offending.
“He fully appreciates the risk of custody and how serious these matters are.
“In 2014 he went off the rails but now he is back on track.
“In January he obtained employment.
“He would like to go to college and go onto work with young offenders who find themselves in similar situations to himself.
“He recognises his behaviour was unacceptable and wishes to apologise to all of the victims.
Barry Hunter, chairman of the magistrates, said: “The burglary is particularly unpleasant, as it is against your own mother.
“You made use of a key to carry out the offence.
“We feel only custody is sufficient.
“But due to your guilty plea and the remorse you have shown, we will suspend that sentence.”
Reed, of Axminster Close, Cramlington, was given an 18-week jail term – suspended for 12 months.
He must also complete 100 hours of unpaid work and will have 12 months of community supervision from the probation service.
He must pay £460 compensation for stealing the Nintendo DS and games, and also pay £75.97 compensation to BHS, £45 to TK Maxx and £46 to Morrisons, making for a total bill of £626.97.