A Darlington burglar who led police from the scene of the break-in to his front door with a trail of footprints in the snow has escaped jail.
Lewis Ward was arrested just 90 minutes after he walked in through his victim's unlocked front door at 11.30pm on January 18 and stole an iPad from her house.
– Jonathan Harley, defending
"This is about the least planned burglary you are likely to see."
Officers spotted footprints in the snow by her front door and followed the tracks to his house.
Ward made an immediate confession and showed police where he had hidden the tablet behind his wardrobe.
His lawyer said it was an "impulsive" and "silly act" which his client could neither remember nor explain; Ward had got drunk after arguing with his girlfriend.
He was handed a 26-week jail sentence, suspended for a year, and ordered to carry out 240 hours unpaid work.