A DRUNK sneak thief stole a treasured Staffordshire bull terrier puppy when he crept into an unlocked house in the middle of the night, a court heard.

Burnley Crown Court was told how cabinet maker Robert Grant, 35, had no recollection of what he had done because of the amount of alcohol he had taken.

The pup, called Sniff, and then 12- weeks-old, has never been found, causing upset to both the victim, owner John Spencer and Mr Spencer's other dog, Sniff's ‘mate’ three-year-old Pepper.

Grant had struck while the victim' s brother was in bed asleep at their home in Union Road, Oswaldtwistle, and when he got up at 9am and discovered the pup gone, thought Mr Spencer had returned and taken it for a walk.

The defendant, of John Street, Church, admitted burglary. 

He was sentenced to eight months in jail, suspended for two years, with 150 hours unpaid work.

Lisa Worsley, prosecuting, said Mr Spencer left home for the night.

The two dogs were fastened in the living room and couldn't get upstairs.

At 2am that day, a police officer had seen the defendant drunk at a takeaway on Union Road.

CCTV operators were asked to monitor his ongoing behaviour. About an hour later, he saw the defendant again, in Blackburn Road, Accrington, carrying a small white and dark puppy. He thought Grant was simply taking his dog out.

Ms Worsley said the burglary was reported and CCTV at a Blackburn Road takeaway, near where the defendant had been spotted with the puppy, was checked. Grant was identified from footage and was interviewed.

Philip Holden, for Grant, described the case as ‘bizarre and unusual’.

The defendant was a skilled cabinet maker, and was able to make financial recompense if he kept his liberty.

Passing sentence, Judge Ian Leeming, QC, said the loss of Sniff to Mr Spencer had caused him considerable distress.