A burglar was caught red-handed after his victim returned home to find him inside her house, Lincoln Crown Court was told.
Homeless Robert Gutalewicz broke into the property in Sleaford Road, Boston, looking for cash.
Mark Knowles, prosecuting, said the occupiers were out at work but the woman returned in the middle of the afternoon.
Mr Knowles said: “She heard a noise. She thought it was the dog but walking into the living room she was confronted by this defendant. With some degree of fortitude she challenged him as to what he was doing in her house.He hurriedly went past her and went out of the front door.”
The victim called police and Gutalewicz was arrested just 100 yards away. He had a rucksack containing items stolen from the property.
Gutalewicz, 31, of no fixed address, admitted burglary on March 8. He was given an eight month jail sentence at the court on Friday, which was suspended for a year, and 200 hours unpaid work.
Recorder Justin Wigoder suspended the jail sentence because Gutalewicz had not committed burglary before.
Beris Brickles, defending, said Gutalewicz had worked regularly since arriving in the UK six years ago. Earlier this year he went to Cornwall flower picking but while there was the victim of a mugging and had his identity documents stolen.
As a result he found himself unable to obtain either work or get benefits when he returned to Boston and was forced to sleep rough.
Mr Brickles said his client had spent time in custody on remand since his arrest and needed help to get his life back on track.