A BURGLAR has been jailed after breaking into a house in Widnes while the owner was inside and stealing a car from the driveway.

Terry Winstanley, from Liverpool, pleaded guilty to burglary, stealing a car and driving without insurance.

The 31-year-old appeared in Liverpool Crown Court on November 16 to be sentenced for the incident which occurred on Blundell Road in Widnes.

At about 9.20pm on August 20, a woman noticed the rear lights on the car parked on her driveway come on.

She went outside and saw Winstanley getting into the car.

The homeowner tried to stop him as he drove away, hurting her elbow in the process.

Around 20 minutes later, police officers spotted the car being driven along Edge Lane in Liverpool and later found it abandoned in Insall Road.

A police dog was transported to the area and found Winstanley hiding in an enclosed yard.

Winstanley admitted he had been in the car and analysis of his mobile phone proved that he had been in the area where it was stolen from.

He was sentenced to 30 months in custody, ordered to pay a £170 victim surcharge and given six points on his driving licence.

Detective constable Nicola Dolan said: “I am delighted that Winstanley has been brought to justice for his actions and I hope the custodial sentence that has been handed down by Liverpool Crown Court deters others from committing similar offences.

“He must have sneaked into the house on Blundell Road and stolen the car keys while people were at home.

“A woman inside the house saw him stealing the car and tried to stop him, but she was unable to do so and was left with a minor elbow injury and in shock at what had happened.

“It is particularly upsetting when you are the victim of a crime in the place you should be able to feel most safe – your own home.”

Cheshire Constabulary offers the following advice to reduce your chances of falling victim to such crimes:

• Make sure all doors and windows are secure.

• Do not leave valuables, including purses, handbags and car keys, on display or near external doors.

• Do not leave house keys near the door or in view.

• Consider using a timer to set your lights and radio to come on while you are out.

• Consider security marking valuable items with your house number and postcode with a UV pen, or mark it using property marking kits which consist of a traceable liquid to forensically mark valuables.

• Ask neighbours to keep an eye on your property while you are out, and do the same for them.