Burglar caught in act thanks to pensioner’s cat
PROLIFIC OFFENDER JAILED FOR MORNING BREAK-IN
A PENSIONER was alerted to a burglar’s presence in her bungalow by her pet cat.
Intruder Lee Wooden had let himself into the elderly lady’s South Shields home through an unlocked front door and helped himself to her purse, cash, mobile phone and crucifix pendant
But the 46-year-old was caught in the act after the shocked victim, who lives alone, was alerted by her cat’s behaviour and she confronted him in her hallway, a court heard.
Serial thief Wooden, who has 52 past offences for burglary, told the pensioner he was looking for someone before he fled the property as she called the police.
However, the career criminal was found soon after trying to jump over a nearby fence and arrested, Newcastle Crown Court was told.
Now, Wooden, of Brookside Avenue, Blyth, has been jailed for three years after he admitted one count of burglary.
Rachel Masters, prosecuting, said the victim had left her front door unlocked after letting her cat in on the morning of April 11 this year.
Ms Masters told the court. “The complainant noticed her cat had become unsettled. As a result she looked through to the door at the front and discovered the front door open.”
The court heard that the victim initially thought the postman may have accidentally opened her door but checked one of the bedrooms for a possible intruder. One returning to the hallway, she was encountered by a startled Wooden, who pretended to be looking for someone called Mary.
Ms Masters added: “The complainant told the defendant to leave immediately. He repeated he was looking for ‘Mary.’ She opened the door and he left, initially walking up the road then commencing a run.”
The victim then discovered that Wooden had taken her purse, which contained £160 cash, credit card and a rewards card, a crucifix pendant, a Morrisons voucher, a mobile phone and a diary.
The police were called and officers gave chase when they spotted Wooden jumping over a nearby fence.
He was caught, arrested and found in possession of the stolen goods.
Kate Barnes, mitigating, said Wooden had been released from his last custodial sentence in November 2017 but had relapsed into heroin use after failing to get the support he needed.
Locking him up, Recorder Christopher Williams said: ““She [the victim] has been, according to her victim personal statement, left shaken and wary as a result of what must have been for her, because she physically confronted the defendant, a very frightening incident indeed.”
Lee Wooden was locked up for three years for the South Shields burglary