A PAIR of thieves who went on a two-day crime spree are behind bars after they were caught targeting cars and homes.
The opportunistic duo were recorded on CCTV cameras as they tried handles on a number of cars, houses and garages as they prowled the streets looking for items to steal.
Ryan Thompson, 22, and Dylan Turner, 19, used a stolen black Ford Fiesta with false licence plates to transport themselves around the Hartlepool area.
Teesside Crown Court heard how they targeted a house on Hart Pastures, where they stole a laptop, as well as attempting to burgle homes on Woodhouse Lane and Astro Drive.
They also discovered a designer handbag worth £1,980 from the passenger seat of a parked car with a faulty locking system.
Shaun Dryden, prosecuting, said police received several reports from members of the public that two men in a black Fiesta were trying the door handles of houses in central Hartlepool at around 2.40am on October 8 this year.
Officers found the car parked outside a convenience store, and in the boot were more licence plates and two stolen laptops.
Turner had some stolen bank cards in his pockets and also a folded lock knife, the court heard.
The thefts were committed on the nights of October 7 and 8, and the owner of the designer handbag said that it had been a present to her and she could not afford to replace it.
Turner had 15 convictions for 32 offences including house burglaries beginning when he was 12, and Thompson had nine convictions for 15 offences.
Thompson, of Chester Road, Hartlepool, pleaded guilty to total of 11 charges including interference with a vehicle, burglary, theft and attempted burglary.
Mr Dryden said that in a bid to evade arrest Thompson rode on the pavement doing a wheelie, on the wrong side of a traffic bollard before turning around and passing the police vehicle. He left the bike and his leathers in the yard of a house in Blackhall and was arrested as he walked off with a friend.
The 22-year-old was also to be sentenced for dangerous driving of a motor cycle on false plates, without insurance and a licence during a police chase on March 12 on the Coast Road near Blackhall.
He was disqualified for 28 months and until he passes an extended driving test.
Turner, of Garside Walk, Hartlepool, pleaded guilty to theft, burglary, attempted burglary, fraud and taking a vehicle without the owner’s consent.
Dan Cordey, defending Thompson, said that he was expecting a jail sentence, adding: “He wants to get all matters sorted out and be sentenced today so that he can leave prison with a clean sheet and get on with his law-abiding life.”
Andrew Teate, defending Turner, said that the offences were not his idea but he was a willing participant.
He added: “It was an opportunistic spree by them, they had no tools. He is young enough to turn his life around and he has the support of a stable family.”
Judge Howard Crowson said that it was a spree of offending over two days or two nights.
The pair were both jailed for a total of two years and four months.