Opportunistic thief jailed after claiming he was “looking for his dog” after being confronted on his victim’s first floor balcony
An opportunistic thief has been jailed after he was caught red handed trying to break-in to a flat – before claiming he was “just looking for my dog”.
Francis Wilson has been sentenced to almost three years behind bars after targeting the first floor flat in North Shields in January.
Newcastle Crown Court heard how the 29-year-old had climbed onto the property’s balcony after seeing the doors had been left open.
But he was soon confronted by the elderly couple who lived there after they heard Wilson clambering into their flat.
Wilson, who was looking in a vegetable basket, claimed he was “looking for his dog” before he attempted to escape by climbing back over the balcony railing.
The male occupant of the flat, who is aged in his 70s, grabbed his coat to prevent him from fleeing at which point the thug then bit both of the man’s hands, breaking the skin.
He was then able to flee on foot and was spotted running away with a dog that had been waiting on the ground below.
Officers from Northumbria Police were quickly dispatched to the scene and he was arrested within minutes. Once arrested, he was also found in possession of two bags of amphetamine.
Wilson, of Holywell Road, North Shields, was charged with possession of the drug, burglary and assault occasioning actual bodily harm.
Earlier this year he admitted the offences and on Wednesday he was back at Newcastle Crown Court where a judge sentenced him to 34 months behind bars.
Following the case, Detective Chief Inspector Martin Brooks, of Northumbria Police, welcomed the custodial sentence handed to the prolific thief.
“Francis Wilson has a number of previous convictions for theft offences and is clearly an opportunistic thief who has no thought for his victims,” said DCI Brooks.
“He has spotted an opportunity to gain entry to a property via the balcony and he did not hesitate to take a chance to burgle the address.
“The excuse that he was looking for his dog was farcical – unless we’ve entered a parallel universe where dogs have learnt to climb walls and squeeze into vegetable baskets.
“Thankfully the occupants were home at the time of his attempted raid and bravely confronted him before he was able to make off from the scene.
“It was a great job by response officers to then locate him and I hope that response, and this lengthy custodial sentence, reassures residents in our Force area.”
Wilson also admitted a series of driving offences, including dangerous driving and driving whilst disqualified, in connection with an incident in September last year where he collided with a police car.