Couple hid in bathroom while hooded burglar 'booted' front door looking for drugs

Craig Short was one of two people to smash a window and break in
-Credit: (Image: Photographee.eu - Fotolia)


A terrified couple locked themselves and their dogs in the upstairs bathroom after being woken by hooded burglars trying to smash their way into the house.

Craig Short, 35, and his accomplice went to a house in Hartlepool late at night in March this year and started banging and booting the front door. The duo shouted they were looking for 'Kevin' and despite the occupants saying they didn't know anyone of that name, the pair smashed a window to break into the property.

They stole a white carrier bag, which Short later admitted he thought contained drugs, but it turned out to be presents for the householder's nephew - a drone and some vapes.

Cole Cockburn, prosecuting at Teesside Crown Court, said blood which was left smeared on the door frame was later analysed and matched to Short, of the town's Taunton Grove. He has 12 previous convictions dating back to the age of 15, including for robbery.

He said Short was shopping in the town's Morrisons supermarket with his mother on May 1 when a detective recognised him and arrested him. He was found to be carrying a lock knife and a small quantity of pregabalin and zopiclone drugs.

Mr Cockburn said: "He was candid in interview saying he chose this house believing it contained drugs." During an earlier hearing at Teesside Magistrates' Court Short pleaded guilty to burglary of a dwelling house, possession of a knife in public and possession of drugs.

Stephen Constantine, defending, said Short said he had spotted the knife in the street, picked it up and put it in his pocket, something which his mother said she has seen him do. He said the defendant, a dad of three young children, had some long-standing difficulties in his life, including drug abuse, including heroin and non prescription drugs.

Mr Constantine said: "He is someone who is capable of working with the authorities to try and help himself, but is somebody, for a variety of reasons, has been unable to sustain it." He said Short now has the motivation to change things and there are a number of projects he wants to take part in to help with this when he is released from prison.

Sentencing, Judge Recorder Felicity Davies said it was "utterly stupid" for someone with Short's criminal record to pick a knife up and put it in his pocket. She said: "I am told that you are beginning to recognise that unless you finally decide you are going to walk away from drugs you will only continue offending and going backwards and forwards to prison, which is not much of a life."

Short was sentenced to two years in prison and ordered to pay £87 in compensation.

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