Burglar carried out raid on family home so he could afford to go on holiday

A burglar was caught after a neighbour spotted him climbing through the window of a house as a family were asleep.

Matthew Wheeler carried out the raid at the house in Wakefield so he could take his own family away on holiday.

Leeds Crown Court

Leeds Crown Court

Police were alerted after a resident on Collier Street saw the 39-year-old sneak into the property through the living room window.

Leeds Crown Court heard the neighbour noticed Wheeler acting suspiciously in his people carrier vehicle on the evening of July 14 this year.

Carmel Pearson, prosecuting, said the defendant was seen to drive in and out of the cul-de-sac on a number of occasions.

He approached the property but was disturbed when a taxi pulled into the street.

Wheeler got into his vehicle and drove off but returned on foot a short time later.

Miss Pearson said the neighbour rang the police when Wheeler entered the property.

Officers arrived quickly and awoke the family who lived at the house by knocking on the door.

The back door to the property was open and a footprint was found on the window sill.

Nothing was stolen from the property.

Wheeler had fled the house but an officer stopped him in his vehicle a short distance away.

A knife was found in the pocket of his trousers and a multi tool was in the driver's door.

His footprint matched the one recovered from the window sill.

He refused to comment when interviewed about the offence.

Wheeler, of Thistle Hill Drive, Streethouse, pleaded guilty to burglary.

He has a previous conviction for house burglary.

Probation officer Michael Clark told the court Wheeler had admitted that he was under the influence of heroin at the time of the offence.

He said Wheeler had spent his family's holiday money and was desperate for cash.

Imran Khan,mitigating, said Wheeler had done some decorating work the day before the offence and had been expecting to be paid.

He said: "He was not paid and he had no money for the following day when they were going on a family holiday."

Wheeler was jailed for 16 months.

Deputy Circuit Judge Robert Moore said: "I am satisfied that you were searching for a house with an open window that night because the weather was hot and windows were being left open.

"Only an immediate custodial sentence can be justified."