A BURGLAR has been jailed for more than three years after he admitted breaking into a family home and stealing Christmas presents from under the tree.

Michael Hall, 36, from Cobden Street, Darlington, appeared before Teesside Crown Court on Friday where he pleaded guilty to a charge of burglary.

Hall entered a property in Peterhouse Close, in Darlington, through an unsecure front door in the early hours of December 17 and stole a number of wrapped Christmas presents, including cosmetics, clothes and DVDs worth more than £300.

He was stopped by police a day later when he was seen acting suspiciously outside a shop in Darlington town centre and was found to be carrying cosmetics that matched those stolen from the house.

A footprint matching his shoe was also found in the victim’s house and a number of empty gift bags matching those stolen were found at his property.

He was fast-tracked to crown court where he was sentenced to three years and four months in prison.

DS Sean Jackson, from Darlington CID, said he was delighted with the result, but urged people to keep their homes secure.

He added: “The victims were very upset and distressed that someone had been in their home and spoiled their Christmas. From a police point of view people really do need to ensure that they lock their doors.”