A COMPUTER thief could not understand why he was charged with burglary because he had not set foot in the house he raided, a court heard.

Darren Crozier hurled a brick through a window and reached in to steal the lap-top and hard-drive from the property in Middlesbrough in June.

Crozier faced a minimum three-year prison sentence because he has two previous convictions for burglary, Teesside Crown Court was told.

But the judge, Recorder William Lowe, QC, accepted there were “unusual features” to to case and jailed the 24-year-old for 18 months.

Robert Mochrie, mitigating, told the court: “He didn't appreciate he was committing a burglary at the time.

“It was not the case where he actually entered the property as one would ordinarily expect. He broke the window and it was his hand that went in.”

Crozier, of Harford Street, Middlesbrough, admitted burglary but Mr Mochrie said he was in the grip of a drink and crack cocaine problem.

Mr Recorder Lowe said: “It is a burglary in law and I understand you might see it somewhat differently.”