Hawkes crashed the car about a mile away from the family home he burgled in January this year
A thief who smashed a stolen car into a lamppost moments after burgling a family home has been jailed – after his blood was found on the air bag.
David Hawkes, 39, sneaked into a house on Howarth Street in Sunderland in the early hours of January 7 while the occupants were asleep.
After taking the keys to a Nissan Micra that was parked outside, Hawkes drove off – but crashed the vehicle a mile away on Tudor Grove and made off on foot.
The force of the collision resulted in the air bag to inflate, and when officers found the abandoned car they asked forensic experts to carry out checks inside the mangled vehicle.
The Force’s Scientific Support Unit then spotted a tiny drop of blood on the air bag, which came back as a forensic match to Hawkes.
The offender initially claimed he was a passenger in the vehicle and not responsible for the burglary, but later changed his tune and admitted the raid when he appeared at Newcastle Crown Court on September 10.
On Friday (November 27), Hawkes, of Havelock Court, Sunderland, was jailed for 42 months.
Detective Constable Neil Swainston, of Northumbria Police, has today welcomed the sentence and hopes the case sends out a clear message to offenders across the North East.
He said: “David Hawkes is a serial criminal who has been a drain on police resources for some time. He has brought misery to families across Sunderland as a result of his selfish and widespread offending.
“Now he is behind bars and I am pleased that the severity of his crime has been recognised. We make no apology for our strong commitment to bring burglars and thieves to justice.
“He showed a total disregard for others when he snuck into a family home and stole their car. Before the victim had even realised what had happened, police had received a call from a member of the public saying a Nissan had crashed into a lamppost and the driver made off.
“That allowed our brilliant forensic experts to do what they do best, and this case once again highlights how the tiniest drop of blood, saliva, sweat or other bodily fluid can be detected and used to prove somebody’s guilt.
“I have no doubt that families across Sunderland can sleep easier knowing Hawkes has been taken off our streets.”
Det Con Swainston is part of a dedicated team of detectives based at Southwick Police Station who are tasked with reviewing every break-in across Sunderland and South Tyneside.
The Southern Burglary Team work closely with neighbourhood teams to identify offenders, monitor crime trends and help prevent burglaries from happening in the first place.