A MUM who was caught in a family’s hallway stealing from a child’s coat pocket has been given a suspended sentence after it was the third time she had been charged with burglary.

Kathryn Kelly, of Manor Road, Widnes, broke into the family home while the door was unlocked and Paul Woodward’s children were playing upstairs.

Mr Woodward heard a banging noise in the hallway and confronted Kelly after seeing the 38-year-old with her hand in his daughter’s coat pocket.

James Coutts, prosecuting, said: “The defendant said she had noticed the door was open.

“Mr Woodward took her hand out of the pocket and noticed she had taken change from the pocket.”

He stopped Kelly from running away before police arrived.

A total of £2.37 in loose change was found on the lawn after Kelly dropped it.

A statement from Mr Woodward said that he and his family were ‘jumpy and nervous’ in their own home after the incident.

Kelly had committed a number of previous drug-related offences.

Simon Berkson, defending, told Warrington Crown Court on Monday Kelly’s last burglary offence was in 2006 so there was a ‘significant gap’ and she was an ‘opportunistic thief’.

Judge Nicholas Woodward said: “You must have realised the house was occupied and two children have been affected after what you did undermined their sense of safety and security.

“How would you feel if that was your children?

“I suspect you don’t care that much.”

Kelly was given a 12-month sentence suspended for two years.