A burglar was caught red-handed thanks to a stargazer who saw him climbing into a house in the early hours of the morning.
Police were alerted by Jeffrey Coe, who was in his loft looking into the night sky, when he saw Paul Kelly acting suspiciously.
He was walking up and down apparently looking at different properties in Cross Flatts Drive, Beeston before he approached one and climbed in a window.
John Bull prosecuting told Leeds Crown Court that Kelly began gathering items inside to steal. But officers were quickly on the scene and found him in the hallway where he tried to mislead them saying: “They are upstairs.” They detained him as the occupant, who had heard the noise, told officers he recognised Kelly as someone he had seen that day on a bus. Items which were found moved included the DVD player, X-box and games.
Kelly admitted to the police he had been drinking and while walking home saw the window ajar saying he had “proper messed up”. A mobile phone and charger were recovered from his pocket.
Stephen Welford, for Kelly, said he deeply regretted th the offence which was committed on impulse. He had been doing well since his last release from custody and had not offended even when his benefits were stopped for a time. He said Kelly had obtained a place at Leeds College of Building to qualify as a tiler which made his actions even more disappointing for him.
“He believes he is becoming institutionalised, at the age of 43 he has spent some 20 years in custody and finds it difficult to cope when he is at liberty.” It was his hope when next released he would remain drug and offence free. Kelly, of Hemingway Garth, Hunslet, Leeds, admitted burglary with intent and was jailed for three years.