Home-grown theft that backfired

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A MAN who tried to stage a masked robbery in his own sitting room was jailed for two years at Teesside Crown Court yesterday.

Roderick Hunt, for the prosecution, said that Mark Reay, 23, lured an insurance collector to his home with a message that there was some cash to collect. When a woman accomplice let her in he leapt out with a scarf and hood hiding his face.

But Catherine Alderson, 46, had just dropped off her day's takings at the Post Office and Reay fled empty-handed. He dumped his disguise, returned to the house in Darlington, Co Durham, and was later arrested.

Kester Armstrong, for the defence, said Reay, who admitted attempted robbery, planned the 'bizarre' crime after his girlfriend landed him with heavy debts.