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  1. ITV Report

Christmas Eve burglar jailed after homeowners disturbed him as he helped himself to their presents

John Martin Porter, 39, forced his way into the Shaw Street house on December 24 Credit: Cumbria Police

A burglar chased and detained by a Maryport couple who disturbed him as he broke into their home on Christmas Eve has been jailed for almost three years.

John Martin Porter, 39, forced his way into the Shaw Street house on December 24 while occupants Lee Sheeran and Victoria Bell were out completing festive shopping.

They returned and, as Mr Sheeran went to investigate noises upstairs, Miss Bell watched as Porter vaulted from a first floor bedroom window on to the street below and fled.

Carlisle Crown Court heard on Monday 27 January how the pair chased down their uninvited guest.

He was struggling, kicking out and trying to get away.

Ultimately the two householders restrained him, Mr Sheeran sitting on his chest and Miss Bell sitting on his legs.”

– Gerard Rogerson, prosecutor

It emerged Porter had earlier opened their Christmas presents, rifled through a handbag and was believed to have entered other rooms inside their address.

Porter, of Milburn Street, Workington, admitted a burglary charge in court.

Judge Nicholas Barker heard the defendant had more than 100 previous offences on his record, including scores of theft crimes and also two previous house break-ins which triggered a three-year minimum prison sentence.

100+
The defendant have more than 100 previous offences on his record.

Giving Porter a discount for his guilty plea, Judge Barker jailed him for 876 days, and praised the householders’ bravery.

876
days behind bars. The sentence handed down to John Porter.

They were no doubt fired by anger and indignity that you had broken into their home on Christmas Eve and begun to open their Christmas presents.

A mean and unpleasant offence likely to cause significant upset for the pair of them.”

– Judge Nicholas Barker