Serial South Shields thief struck while home owner took dog for early morning stroll
A serial thief who raided a house while the owner was out walking his dog has been put behind bars.
Grant Hunter took a key for a Ford Fiesta from the victim's home at Mowbray
Road, South Shields, while he was out with his pet on the early morning of Feburary 26.
Newcastle Crown Court heard the 41-year-old raider, who has 160 previous convictions, took the car and used bank cards from a wallet in the vehicle to buy Â£34 worth of shopping at Asda.
Prosecutor Peter Schofield told the court: "The complainant left his house to walk his dog and to turn over the car engine.
"When he went to the spot where his car had been, it was missing.
"It seems that the defendant had entered his home and removed the car key and in turn removed the car."
Hunter was arrested when police spotted him behind the wheel of the stolen car, while under the influence of methadone, and his home was searched.
Prosecutor Peter Schofield told the court: "When his wardrobe was searched there was an amount of property which had been taken from various cars."
The court heard property belonging to three separate victims who had had items which included camping equipment, a sat nav and money stolen from their parked vehicles was found.
Hunter, of Beach Road, South Shields, admitted burglary, fraud, four offences of theft and driving while disqualified.
Mr Recorder Keith Miller sentenced him to 33 months behind bars.
The judge told him: "Unless you decide to change the whole pattern of your life, the remainder of it, however long or short it may be, is going to be determined by drug taking and time spent locked up."
The judge added: "Unless you cure that drug habit, your life is going to become increasingly miserable."
Jane Foley, defending, said long-term drug use was the "motivation" for the offences but that Hunter has taken steps while in custody to stay clean in future.
Miss Foley said the offences were "impulsive" and "opportunist".