A BURGLAR who sneaked into people’s homes while they were still in has narrowly avoided jail.

Glen Ward entered one man’s home and stole a £1,000 laptop from his bedroom while he was watching TV, Southampton Crown Court heard.

Then, two days later, the 49-year-old targeted another house while a woman was home alone, and even took his dog with him.

Prosecuting, Matthew Lawson said when interviewed Ward, of Wodehouse Road, Southampton, also admitted to stealing eight coats and some scarves from an unlocked porch.

The defendant was handed an 18-month sentence suspended for two years and told to abide by a three-month curfew from 7pm until 7am, for going on the burglary spree between February 12 and 14.

He was also ordered to complete ten days of rehabilitation activities and pay £1,500 in compensation.

Mr Lawson said Ward sneaked into a home in the late afternoon and took a laptop and a charger as well as some house and car keys.

During the second incident two days later, a woman, who was home alone, heard a noise downstairs at about 11.30pm.

As she was about to go downstairs, she saw a flash of a torchlight by the front door and ran back up to her bedroom.

Mr Lawson said the woman looked out of her bedroom window and saw the defendant look at her as he walked out of her garden gate with his dog.

She then discovered some house keys and “fairly useless” tax office documents were missing.

Defending, Jamie Gammon said Ward, who suffers from an alcohol problem and depression, was not behaving in his “right mind” on these occasions.

“He is a man that has gone off the rails, walking into people’s houses while they are occupied. He is not targeting homes or taking high-value items. He is a remorseful man that is concerned about his own behaviour,” he added.

Judge Gary Burrell said: “In my book, burglars go to prison and it is very rare they do not.

“I don’t know many burglars who would take their dog with them; you are not the average burglar.

“Something has gone wrong with you – obviously it has something to do with your depression and drinking.

“You have had some sort of breakdown, I suppose.”