A BURGLAR callously targeted her neighbour’s home, knowing that her victim had temporarily moved out so she could support a sick relative.

Carlisle Crown Court heard how the police were called when another neighbour glanced through the victim’s kitchen window in Brookside, Raffles, Carlisle, and spotted 41-year-old Lavinia Moorhead, her face hidden beneath a balaclava.

The defendant had taken a mixture of heroin and tranquilisers. Moorhead admitted burglary.

Eddison Flint, prosecuting, described how the alarm was raised at 9.45pm on May 18.

A woman who knew the victim, glanced through a window and saw a figure in dark clothing moving around in what she knew ought to have been an empty house.

“Shortly after that, police arrived,” said Mr Flint. “The defendant came to the living window, and climbed out.”

She wore a balaclava, and had socks on her hands - to guard against leaving finger-prints.

At the time, the victim was renovating the house after another burglary in December.

“I can’t believe a neighbour would do this, knowing what I’ve been through,” said the woman.

She was coming to terms with the damage her home already suffered, including the destruction of her only photos of her late father.

The earlier burglary had left her so stressed that she could no longer sleep.

“I’ve been left with nothing,” she said, adding that felt she could not now return to the house.

John Smith, for Moorhead, said she had started taking street valium following an assault she had suffered five days before the burglary.

Immediately before the burglary, she took 15 diazepam tablets and heroin.

Moorhead’s own home was dilapidated, its windows permanently broken. “Entry was through either a kicked in [door] panel or by crawling in through a window which was boarded up,” said the lawyer.

Recorder Tom Gilbart noted Moorhead’s 155 previous offences, 97 of them for theft and kindred offences that included two burglaries.

Jailing her for 14 months, he said: “It’s also a cruel offence... because you knew these premises had been burgled before.”