Durham burglar who walked through unlocked front door caught on floor eating box of chocolates

Stabler told police he had little memory of the burglary because of the quantity of drugs he had taken. Credit: Northumbria Police

A man who was high on diazepam when he entered a family home and ate a box of chocolates in the living room has been jailed.

Darren Stabler of Teesdale Walk, Bishop Auckland, entered the home in the Cockton Hill area on 1 December 2022 during the day.

Durham Crown Court heard how two brothers, aged 15 and seven, locked themselves in a bathroom when Stabler entered their home.

The boys were upstairs when the 47-year-old walked through the unlocked front door. They called their dad, who then phoned the police.

When officers arrived, Stabler was found sitting on the floor. He later told police he had little memory of the burglary due to the quantity of drugs he had taken.

The court heard Stabler has five previous burglary offences on his record, and received a 40-month prison sentence in 2011 for the offence.

On Thursday 22 December 2022, Stabler appeared in court after pleading guilty to one count of burglary.

He was sentenced to 32 months in prison.Martin Scarborough, defending, said Stabler had indicated an early guilty plea at the lower magistrates' court and said there was no "significant degree" of planning and the burglary was not targeted.

He said: "He had been in the area as a friend of his lives in the area and he had taken diazepam. He has little recollection of what happened. He entered through an unlocked front door."

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