Thief jailed after Christmas crime spree
A thief who tried to steal Christmas from his neighbours has been jailed.
Scott Longstaff went on a festive crime spree in the early hours of December 5 last year.
The 37-year-old, of Balkwell Green, North Shields, snuck into the home of a woman living in nearby Balkwell Avenue while she slept.
The victim heard him break in, waking up to find Longstaff in her hallway and he ran off empty-handed, stealing a Christmas wreath from a neighbouring property.
Longstaff went on to steal from two addresses in Gunnerton Place and Central Avenue, swiping a decorative snowman from one garden before taking a wheelie bin to stash his stolen loot.
He also attempted to steal Christmas lights from an address on Gunnerton Place, breaking them in the process.
His 4am festive crimewave woke up neighbours and a member of the public alerted called Northumbria Police.
Officers arrived within minutes and he was swiftly arrested on suspicion of theft with his haul of stolen goods recovered and returned.
Longstaff’s actions breached the terms of his suspended sentence and he was later charged with the breach, one count of burglary, three thefts and one attempted theft and remanded in custody.
He pleaded guilty to all counts at Newcastle Crown Court on January 7.
And last week, he returned to the same court and was sentenced to 16 months behind bars.
Detective Constable Jon Mullen, of Northumbria Police, said: “Longstaff is the very definition of blundering burglar, leaving a path of destruction wherever he went.
“But while his acts may have lacked sophistication, they were still absolutely appalling and had a significant impact on his many victims.
“He may have failed to rob the first victim of the night but, by sneaking into her home, he managed to rob her of her privacy and feelings of safety. She has struggled to sleep ever since and now feels frightened in her own home – a place which should be her safe haven.
“We will never tire of bringing burglars and thieves to justice and I hope this prison sentence offers comfort to his victims.”