A burglar who raided a house in the middle of the night was caught after being tracked by a police dog, Lincoln Crown Court was told.
Simon O’Connor forced his way into the property in Beaumont Fee, Lincoln, while the occupiers were sleeping.
Andrew Scott, prosecuting, said the occupiers woke at 4am after the female householder was disturbed by a noise.
She went downstairs where she discovered their home had been burgled and a flat screen television was missing from the lounge. The house had been thoroughly searched and drawers were left open.
The husband searched the area in an unsuccessful bid to find the intruder while his wife rang police.
Further items were then discovered to be missing including a CCTV system, an air pistol and food.
Mr Scott said: “The burglar even took time to open birthday cards hoping to find cash. No cash was found in them but the cards were left strewn on the table.
“The police arrived and decided to use a tracker dog. The dog was deployed and a scent was detected which led to an alleyway between two properties on Alexandra Terrace.
“The defendant was found in the alleyway rolling a cigarette. He gave a false name and told the police he lived in one of the adjoining properties.
“At that point one of the neighbouring occupants appeared and said that the defendant didn’t live there.”
O’Connor was arrested on suspicion of burglary and the stolen air pistol was found on a nearby wall. A tin of pellets for the weapon were found in O’Connor’s pocket and a partly eaten cake, taken in the burglary, was found in his other pocket.
O’Connor, 39, of no fixed address admitted a charge of burglary as a result of the incident on April 11 this year.
He was jailed for two years and five months.
Michael Cranmer-Brown, in mitigation, said that O’Connor had been left traumatised by previous incidents in his life and has struggled to cope with the resultant mental health problems.
He told the court that O’Connor had planned to stay out of trouble but problems arose when the authorities prevented him from contact with his ex-wife and children, despite the fact that they wanted contact with him.
“He went off the rails and went on to commit this offence of burglary.
“He left the premises when he realised he had disturbed the victim. He didn’t want to have a confrontation with her. He apologises for what he did.”