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Christmas Eve burglar chased and detained by householders after opening presents

John Porter

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.

But Carlisle Crown Court heard today (MON) how the plucky pair chased down the crook. “He was struggling, kicking out and trying to get away,” said prosecutor Gerard Rogerson. “Ultimately the two householders restrained him, Mr Sheeran sitting on his chest and Miss Bell sitting on his legs.”

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 today. 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.

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

“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,” the judge told him. “A mean and unpleasant offence likely to cause significant upset for the pair of them.”

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