Joggers help police catch house burglar in Porthill
A BURGLAR caught moments after stealing hundreds of pounds and a TV from a house has been jailed for two years.
Mark Ibbs, who has an appalling criminal record with 40 previous convictions for 224 offences, forced his way into a semi-detached house while the retired householders were out.
But suspicious joggers spotted Ibbs in the act and called the police.
Officers arrived to find Ibbs nearby carrying a television, Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court heard yesterday.
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Prosecutor Neil Ahuja said the residents had left their home in Clare Avenue, Porthill, at 5.45pm on October 5.
But two hours later, at 7.50pm, two joggers saw a man acting suspiciously in the doorway.
"They then heard a loud cracking noise," said Mr Ahuja.
"They saw the door was open and the man left the house. They later saw him wearing a hoodie with the hood up. They went round the corner to call the police. They flagged down the police car and directed officers to the house.
"Police saw the defendant in some bushes near some grass. He was stopped and challenged, carrying a TV set. He said he had just found that in the bushes."
The court heard Ibbs was also found with £400 cash, sheepskin gloves and a gold ring.
Mr Ahuja said: "All the property transpired to come from the burgled premises. The front door was damaged and forced and there had been a very untidy search."
Ibbs, aged 39, of Albert Street, Newcastle, pleaded guilty to burglary.
Kevin Mortlock, mitigating, conceded Ibbs's record aggravated the offence, but said his last conviction for burglary was more than 10 years ago.
He added that the defendant was apologetic.
Jailing Ibbs for two years, Judge Paul Glenn said: "You have an appalling record of offending from the age of 11.
"In May this year you received an 18 month sentence and were released on September 27, just eight days before this burglary, and the sentence is not to expire until July 2013. The fact you were on licence is a serious aggravating feature.
"You were caught pretty much red-handed. The evidence against you was overwhelming. You broke into the house while the occupiers were out by forcing the front door. Burglaries are offences against the person, not just property. It was premeditated. The search was untidy, but fell short of ransacking."