Bogus bobby Ian Ord smashed his way into the home with a hammer hoping to find a drug dealer’s cash stash in the loft.
He was dressed as a police officer, sporting a stab vest and shouting “armed police” to make his crime appear like a legitimate operation.
He carried an imitation gun described by one witness as “like a sub-machine gun”.
When caught Ord, 37, from Middlesbrough, said he thought the house was empty, Teesside Crown Court heard yesterday.
Instead, the new occupant came home to find his living room window broken and Ord inside.
Ord attracted the attention of neighbours and left the County Durham house pointing the weapon at shocked and distressed bystanders before jumping into a getaway car.
He was already on bail at the time, having been arrested from Heathrow Airport for international money laundering.
He’d used a passport carrying his photograph - but his brother’s name - to travel to Colombia.
There, he received 13 money transfers totalling £18,504 between April and September 2011.
He was extradited to Germany, then went to Italy and Cyprus, where he was jailed for trying to board a flight to Budapest with a false passport under a different name, and was finally extradited back to England in May 2012.
Ord, of Harford Street, Middlesbrough, admitted aggravated burglary from March 28 this year.
He also admitted making an untrue statement to obtain a passport and possessing criminal property.
He had 92 previous offences including imitation firearm possession, burglary, arson, assault, GBH with intent, deception and escaping from custody, and had served long prison sentences.
His barrister Sarah Barlow said he had memory and vision difficulties and headaches from a severe head injury.
She said his most serious offending was when he was a youth, with nothing similar this century.
Judge George Moorhouse jailed him for six-and-a-half years.
Ord’s younger recruit Jonathan Fleming, 21, of Staintondale Avenue, Redcar, also admitted the aggravated burglary. He was jailed for four years for his “subordinate” role.
Fleming, whose only previous crime was stealing some scaffolding, said he didn’t know what was going to happen until he was in the car en route.
He bought the claw hammer on the way, and knew Ord had the firearm.
Peter Makepeace, for Fleming, said he was a “perfectly decent citizen” living a quiet life but was exploited and victimised.
A psychologist said his “dependence personality disorder” made him compliant, easily led, suggestible, vulnerable, unsophisticated and naive.
The Muslim convert showed remorse, behaved impeccably and helped others with literacy in jail.
A third man in the dock, 19-year-old Jonathon Barker, helped Ord by washing the car to get rid of evidence afterwards.
Barker, of Blackthorn Close, Redcar, admitted assisting an offender, his first-ever conviction.
Ian Mullarkey, representing the teenager, said he too was naive as he got “unwittingly involved” and felt bullied, petrified, panicked and isolated.
He said Barker was relieved to be caught, ending his ordeal, and deeply regretted his actions.
The court case took a psychological toll on the hard-working apprentice engineer and charity worker, whose family supported him.
Judge Moorhouse said Barker acted under duress and gave him a one-year custodial sentence suspended for two years with 150 hours’ unpaid work and six months’ supervision.
Article from Gazette Live