A BURGLAR from Harrogate who was caught by his victim’s neighbours has been jailed for 18 months.
Paul Edward Newton, 22, of Regent Avenue, was sentenced last Friday after being found guilty of burglary at Teesside Crown Court in January.
He was caught after his victim’s neighbours, a retired couple from Sutton-on-the-Forest, spotted him walking in the fields at the back of their house on February 5 last year.
He had a black box hidden under a sweatshirt, which, when challenged by the pair, he claimed to be a TV set.
But, not believing his story, the quick-thinking couple had taken a note of his registration plate number which they passed on to police.
What they didn’t know was that at lunchtime that day, their neighbours had been burgled and their safe had been stolen.
Due to their vigilant actions, Newton was arrested that same day and later charged with the burglary.
On a more disturbing note, it transpired that Newton was a friend of their son and they had given him shelter a few years previously when he had nowhere else to stay.
DC Yvonne Lumbard, of Northallerton CID, said: “Our thanks go to the vigilant neighbours in this case whose public spirited actions were instrumental in bringing Newton to justice.
“Not only did they provide crucial information which led to the swift arrest of Newton, but they also gave up their free time to attend identification parades and court to give the evidence which led to his conviction.
“Their actions are a great example of the public can help the police to prevent and detect crime.
“Newton’s betrayal of a family who came to his aid in his hour of need is disgraceful. Thanks to two astute members of the community he is now facing the justice he deserves.”