A burglar has been jailed for 15 months after overpowering a woman in her home at dead of night and making off with her purse and phone.

Stefan Sivak was homeless and hungry when he scratched on his victim’s door after gaining entry to the block of flats on Leeds Road in Bradford where she lived alone, Bradford Crown Court heard yesterday morning.

Sivak, 28, formerly of Lincoln Street, Allerton, Bradford, lost his job and his accommodation because of the coronavirus pandemic, his barrister Ian Hudson said.

He pleaded guilty to burglary of a dwelling on September 17 on a video link to Leeds Prison where he was being held on remand.

Prosecutor Kristian Cavanagh said the woman was woken at 1.50am by knocking and scratching on the door of her flat on the third floor.

She picked up a knife to defend herself and was calling the police when Sivak walked in and tried to stop her making the call.

He overpowered her, took the knife from her and asked for food.

Then he saw the purse and walked out with that and the iPhone.

Police officers called to the scene spotted Sivak nearby and he was detained in an alleyway, Mr Cavanagh said.

A tracking App on the phone meant that it was recovered nearby along with the purse.

Sivak had five previous convictions for seven offences, including house burglary and matters of dishonesty.

He was in breach of a community order imposed in July this year for battery.

Mr Hudson said Sivak was working for an agency in a variety of jobs but the pandemic cost him his employment and his home.

He was on the streets and desperate when he committed the burglary.

The door to the flat was unlocked. He did not force entry and he was very remorseful and upset about what he had done.

Judge Richard Mansell QC said Sivak somehow got into the communal area of the flats shortly before 2am.

He assumed he was let in by another resident as there was no suggestion that he had any housebreaking tools with him.

It was a confrontation burglary and Sivak pushed the woman aside and asked for food.

She slipped and injured her ankle when she was pursuing him from the flat knowing he was escaping with her purse.

Judge Mansell revoked the community order when he jailed Sivak.