A pair of burglars who racked up more than 200 offences between their criminal records have started prison sentences today.

Sniggering was heard over a prison video link as the two prolific offenders’ long rap sheets were outlined at Teesside Crown Court.

Christopher Murphy, 41 – who was tackled by a public-spirited passer-by after he robbed an 80-year-old woman – was locked up for more than three years.

He and John Hines, 45, carried out an early hours crime spree in Coulby Newham, Middlesbrough on April 12.

The two Middlesbrough men burgled a home on The Covert, seemingly getting in through an insecure front door.

The householder, who shared the home with his wife and three children, was woken by his barking dog just before 1.15am.

He went downstairs and found a handbag had been stolen from the kitchen, said prosecutor Jon Harley on Tuesday.

He headed out in his car and found the bag in some nearby bushes, with a bottle of perfume stolen from it.

He also spotted two men acting suspiciously and reported them to police. They turned out to be the two intruders.

They had also tried door handles at two homes on Ash Green, Coulby Newham that night.

Murphy looked under the doormat of one house for a key while Hines stood at the end of the drive, acting as a lookout.

John Hines, 45 (Image: Cleveland Police)

While on court bail, Murphy robbed an 80-year-old woman of her handbag on May 30.

The pensioner was leaving Tesco and heading to her car in a disabled bay at the Parkway Centre car park in Coulby Newham at about 5.20pm.

Murphy was spotted on CCTV on his bike at the shop exit then making his way towards her.

Tackled by a passer-by after bag snatch from 80-year-old woman

He rode past and snatched the bag from her shoulder – but he was tackled by a member of the public, restrained and held until police arrived.

The elderly victim later said in a statement she was “disgusted” with her assailant.

She said he waited for a victim and deliberately targeted a vulnerable person.

“I will be forever grateful to the people who helped me,” she added.

Murphy, of Dunsop Avenue, Easterside, and Hines, of Crossfields, Coulby Newham, admitted burglary and two attempted burglaries.

Murphy denied the robbery and finally pleaded guilty on a trial date earlier this month, when the 80-year-old woman came to court to give evidence.

He confessed to more crimes to police when he was interviewed and asked for eight offences to be taken into account at sentencing.

These were five home burglaries and three non-home burglaries between March 23 and May 2 this year.

207 previous offences between them

Laughing was heard over the video link to Durham Prison as the court heard how Hines had 157 previous offences to his name.

Hines faced sentence for his first burglary offences. Murphy’s only other burglary was back in 1995 among 50 previous offences, none for robbery or violence.

Many of their previous convictions were for dishonesty and they were last in court for shoplifting.

Judge Simon Bourne-Arton QC, the Recorder of Middlesbrough, jailed Murphy for three years and two months, Hines for two years.

© 2018 Tees Info

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