'Shameless' thief carried loot in plastic bags to her South Shields home - just a five minute walk from the house she raided

A ‘shameless’ thief who burgled one home and attempted to raid two others just a five minute walk from her own house has been jailed for more than two years.

Melisa McFarlane
Melisa McFarlane

Melisa McFarlane tried the doors of a number of homes on Milton Street, South Shields, during a cynical crime spree on September 4.

After managing to enter one house while the occupant was out, the 38-year-old hunted for valuables and pocketed a stash of jewellery – along with a set of spare keys to the property.

Carrying her loot in a number of plastic bags, she then popped into a nearby shop and bought groceries before returning home - just five minutes’ walk away from the address she had raided.

With the weight of evidence against her overwhelming, McFarlane, of Dacre Street, South Shields, admitted one count of burglary, two counts of attempted burglary and breach of a suspended sentence at Newcastle Crown Court on Friday, October 4.

She was subsequently jailed for 919 days – more than two-and-a-half years.

Detective Constable Mick Boyd, of Northumbria Police’s Southern burglary team, said: “Melisa McFarlane showed a total disregard for others and the community where she lives as she tried to break into a number of addresses just a short walk away from her home.

“After trying the doors of two properties, she then forced her way into another and stole somebody’s belongings which included jewellery of sentimental value.

“Burglary is a shameful and intrusive crime that can have a long-lasting effect on victims and those who live in the surrounding areas. It can unpick the fabric of our communities and lead to people feeling anxious or frightened in their own home.

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“As a result, we do not apologise for our zero-tolerance stance towards this type of criminality and we have a dedicated burglary team based at Southwick Police Station who look to bring burglars to justice every single day.”

The victim returned home to find her house had been raided but McFarlane’s dishonest actions were seen by a neighbour who spotted her trying door handles along the street while carrying large plastic bags.