BREAKING into a sleeping woman's home and stealing money from her bedroom resulted in a prison sentence for an Alloa man last week.

John Mitchell appeared for sentencing at Alloa Sheriff Court on Thursday, October 15, in relation a charge of theft by housebreaking.

The court heard from prosecutor Ann Orr that 33-year-old Mitchell broke into the woman's flat in the early hours of November 28 last year.

She said: "The occupier of the address had been out for the evening, and returned home shortly before midnight and fell asleep on the couch.

"At about 3am, she woke suddenly, to find there was a man standing in her living room behind the couch.

"He said she had left her front door open, and he'd come in to make sure everything was okay.

"She asked him to leave, which he did."

The terrified woman went to her neighbour's house afterwards, but nobody answered the door.

When she returned to her flat, she noticed broken glass on the ground which she recognised as being from a jar used to store loose change in her bedroom.

Ms Orr said: "She then went inside and found realised a further two jars in her bedroom were still there, but the money was now gone."

The matter was reported to police, but it was actually the woman's brother who found the culprit.

He recognised Mitchell in the street days after the offence, as his sister had told him what the intruder in her home looked like.

The brother took Mitchell to his sister's house, where she identified him as the intruder.

The brother then took him to Alloa Police Station, where he was arrested.

During a subsequent police interview, he tried to claim he had gone into the house by mistake.

That claim was reiterated by Mitchell's solicitor, Larissa Milligan, who told the court last week that her client "thought it was his friend's house he was in".

She added that Mitchell had a history of mental health issues, but had used the lockdown period to make positive changes to his life.

Ms Milligan then asked for a non-custodial sentence to be imposed, to allow her client to keep making positive changes.

Sheriff Craig Harris, referring to a background report, said: "You say he's made certain changes; where is that evidenced in the report?"

Ms Milligan reiterated the claim, and pointed out that Mitchell presented himself well to the social work department preparing the report.

However, Sheriff Harris was not convinced, asked Mitchell to stand up, and said: "You entered someone's home in the early hours of the morning, and I do not accept your explanation you were within it thinking it was your friend's house."

He then said that the offence was "exceptionally serious" and that a custodial sentence was appropriate.

The sheriff then jailed Mitchell, of Whins Road, for six months.