A BURGLAR who tried to paddle to France in a kayak he stole from a Camber holiday chalet had to be rescued a mile off the coast.
Paul Redford, 46, of no fixed abode, was on the run after committing thefts in County Durham and Northumberland, dating back to 2011, when he made his bid for a new life in France.
He was arrested after being rescued by the RNLI in the English Channel and jailed for two and a half years after appearing at Teesside Crown Court recently.
The court heard Redford, had broken into the Camber chalet in August, cooked food for himself and spent the night there.
Rachel Masters, prosecuting, said Redford spotted a kayak outside the holiday home the next morning and decided to head to France.
Police were called by a member of the public who was concerned Redford might be about to kill himself when he was spotted paddling out to sea in the kayak.
Miss Masters said: “He told the crew he had stolen it from a house in Camber. He said he was wanted by the police for a number of years and was going to get to France.”
James Fenny, defending, said Redford, with 27 previous convictions for 83 offences, was not trying to flee justice so much as start afresh.
“He gets into the boat and rather foolishly he sets out to start anew,” Mr Fenny said. “He presents very well as an intelligent, polite individual who, away from drugs, is a pleasant person.”
After Redford’s arrest in August a spokesman at Littlestone-on-Sea lifeboat station said: “We brought him aboard together with the kayak and put an adult’s life jacket on him.
“He’d been wearing a kiddie’s life jacket which had been in the kayak when it was taken.”
Judge Howard Crowson said: “You have a really very bad record for dishonesty, there are a large number of burglaries.”