A DRUG addict and alcoholic attempted to break into a house before stealing a vintage scooter from a neighbouring garden shed.
Matthew McKenna walked into a house before being confronted the owner when he pretended to be looking for a friend.
The defendant asked the woman if he was able to go through her garden into a field near her home in Hurworth before being ushered out of her house.
Teesside Crown Court heard how McKenna then targeted a nearby shed where he stole the scooter belonging to the former police officer, and the driving licence of the homeowner’s mother.
Emma Atkinson, prosecuting, said the woman confronted McKenna after seeing him acting suspiciously on her drive on the afternoon of September 17 last year.
She said: "She confronted him and the defendant claimed he was looking for a number 28 – a property which did not exist."
Miss Atkinson said the defendant then made his way to The Grange Community Centre in the village and started asking where he could find an antiques dealer.
She said: "The defendant had been seen in the area with the stolen red scooter and he has been trying door handles and the woman called the police. A warning was shared on the Hurworth Live Facebook page urging people to be wary."
The court heard that all of the stolen goods were recovered following his arrest after his mother located some of items and handed them to police.
Miss Atkinson said McKenna told officers he had little, if any recollection of the incidents as he was 'intoxicated' at the time.
McKenna, originally from the area but now of no fixed abode, pleaded guilty to attempted burglary and theft.
In mitigation, Adam Walker said his client had been through emotional turmoil at the time of the offences following the breakdown of his relationship.
"He is a cocaine and alcohol addict," he said. "The loss of employment and the emotional impact of the end of his relationship was the cause of his offending."
Mr Walker added: "The lady seems to have been a significantly robust lady and didn't suffer from the brief encounter."
Judge Paul Watson QC sentenced McKenna to an 18 month community order and ordered him to carry out 25 rehabilitation activity requirement days and 140 hours of unpaid work.
He said: "The report shows someone who has struggled with addiction and mental health problems over the years but seems, these matters aside, you have been making adjustments to keep away from your old life. You have kept yourself out of trouble since September when these offences were committed.
"You have shown in the past that you can respond to community orders and there does seem to have been a substantial improvement in your relationship with your child's mother, your drug use and mental health."