A PERSISTENT burglar who broke into three properties in four days was caught by two plain-clothed police officers.
The officers were deployed in the early hours in Peterlee after a spate of burglaries, Durham Crown Court heard.
Lance Wilson was jailed for four-and-half years after he admitted three burglaries and going equipped to steal.
“The police spotted Wilson emerging from the rear of a property in Bewley Grove, Peterlee,” said David Wilkinson, prosecuting.
“He ran away but was caught and arrested.
“He was found to be carrying a balaclava, gloves, two screwdrivers and other items commonly used in burglaries.”
The court heard Wilson was later linked to a garage burglary and two house burglaries on the same night in Lambton Court, Peterlee.
His haul included £500 cash, two Blackberry phones, an iPad, a games console and several items of fishing equipment.
Wilson, 37, of Wordsworth Avenue, Wheatley Hill, admitted burglary on August 30, two burglaries on September 2, and going equipped to steal on September 7.
The court heard he has many previous convictions for burglary, including seven offences since the “three strikes and you’re out” rules were introduced in 2000.
Stuart Graham, defending, said in mitigation: “He knows where he is going and is realistic about that.
“Mr Wilson’s rate of offending has declined in recent years, and he has been trying to support his family by lawful means.
“He found he had little money left each week and foolishly returned to burgling to get some more.”
Passing sentence, Judge Christopher Prince said: “Burglary is a despicable crime and it is very distressing for the victims to think you’ve been in their houses, whether they were in at the time or not.
“I accept there were no confrontations, but your record shows the only way you will be prevented from burgling is by being sent to prison.”