Father and son commended in court for confronting heroin addict sneak thief

First published in News Darlington and Stockton Times: Photograph of the Author by , Regional Reporter

A FATHER and son who chased and wrestled a sneak-in burglar to the floor have each been awarded £250 from public funds after a judge commended their actions.

Peter Helm sought help from his son Daniel after the pair's home was burgled by heroin addict Kevin Heaney.

Heaney had stolen a £600 watch and smartphone valued at £150 after sneaking into Mr Helm's house in Cornfield Road, Linthorpe, Middlesbrough, through an open door.

Prosecuting at Teesside Crown Court, Harry Hadfield said Mr Helm had initially confronted Heaney after discovering him hiding in a hallway.

Heaney then left, but realising that his watch had gone Mr Helm got in his car and drove after him, confronting him for a second time.

After he was threatened with arrest by police Heaney handed over the watch and Mr Helm returned to his house.

However he remained suspicious that other items had been stolen and with his son Daniel the pair went to search again for Heaney in the car.

When they caught up with him, he was wrestled to the floor and restrained, with the smartphone being found in his pockets.

Heaney, 30, of Letitia Street, Middlesbrough, admitted burglary on September 3 last year and asked for three other burglary offences to be taken into consideration.

Andrew White, mitigating said the burglary had been opportunistic. Heaney, a heroin addict who had been in custody since November, planned to sell the items.

Judge Peter Armstrong said he wanted to give the complainant a chance to break what he called a cycle of drugs and offending and suspended an eight month jail sentence on him for two years.

He would undergo a drugs treatment course for six months and be supervised for a year by probation staff.

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