Page last updated at 18:39 GMT, Monday, 13 October 2008 19:39 UK

Hapless shoelace burglar jailed

John Pearce hanging upside down
Burglar John Pearce was left hanging from the window until police arrived

A hapless burglar found hanging upside down from a window by his shoelaces has been jailed for three years.

John Pearce, 32, of Browning Road, Dartford, Kent, was sentenced at Maidstone Crown Court after pleading guilty to one count of burglary.

He was found suspended from a window in Fulwich Road, Dartford, after getting his foot caught while trying to break into the terraced house on 14 August.

The court heard he had committed 50 more burglaries or attempted break-ins.

It was told how Pearce was a habitual heroin user with a 20 per day habit.

'Appalling criminal record'

Mark Dacey, defending, said his problems stemmed from his "addiction to illicit substances and drink".

But he said: "It was a pathetic burglary. It's clear he was subject to some public humiliation."

He added: "The burglary offence was opportunistic, it was not pre-planned. It was the fact he needed money for drugs and alcohol."

Sentencing Pearce, Judge Jeremy Carey said: "This was an entry albeit an incompetent and pathetic one which left him dangling from the window for more than an hour."

He said Pearce possessed "a truly appalling criminal record, much of it related to drug abuse".

John Pearce
John Pearce needed money for drugs and alcohol, the court heard

Pearce was ordered to serve at least half of his three-year sentence, less the 59 days already spent in custody.

The sentence also incorporated penalties for two assaults on police officers, two shoplifting thefts and possession of class C drugs.

Det Sgt Mike Worrall, from Kent Police, said: "This sentence is good news for the community in that such a prolific burglar is no longer a threat.

"Dartford's residents can rest a little easier in the knowledge that this individual has been removed from their streets.

"Having been caught hanging literally upside-down from the window of the house he was attempting to break into, he was left with little choice but to admit his crime and take his punishment on the chin."

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