Burglar sneaked in while family slept

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A BURGLAR who stole a family’s car was so high on a cocktail of drink and drugs that he could not recall crashing it before police arrested him, a Doncaster court heard.

The sneak-in entry at the family home in Shuttle Close, Rossington, last year led to an 18 month prison sentence for Alistair Sutherland, who also lives in the village.

Sutherland, of Yew Tree Crescent, pleaded guilty to charges of burglary and aggravated vehicle taking when he appeared before Doncaster Crown Court.

Prosecutor Beverley Tait said the family was woken around 2.30am by the sounds of their dog barking and footsteps outside their bedrooms.

When they got up they discovered bank cards and a handbag missing, and that the ignition keys to their £7,000 Honda Jazz had been used to take the vehicle.

About an hour later police on patrol in Doncaster town centre came upon the Honda at the Jet service station where Sutherland was arrested while trying to fill it with petrol.

When interviewed the 32-year-old said he could not remember much, because of the amount of alcohol and substances he had consumed.

But damage to the car showed he had hit a kerb which had damaged two of the alloy wheels and tyres, as well as scratching the bodywork.

Ms Tait said the burglary had caused a great deal of stress to the family and left the wife a nervous wreck.

Sutherland had a previous conviction for burglary, the court was told.

Karen Tunnicliffe, defending, said her client had been full of remorse while reflecting on what he had done.

“He recognises there are difficulties he needs to resolve. He had been drinking with friends and he mentioned he was having trouble sleeping so one of them gave him some sleeping tablets.

“He had no recollection whatsoever of the burglary and only a vague recollection of bumping a car. He was not fit to be interviewed until the following day.”

Mrs Tunnicliffe added: “All is not lost because he sees he has to get his life back on track and he has taken the first step on the road to recovery while on remand.”

The judge, Recorder Eric Elliott, said the offences had to be met with a custodial sentence because it was a high-value burglary and the occupants were disturbed.

Sutherland was also banned from driving for two years for the aggravated vehicle taking offence.