A Derby house breaker who already has more than six previous burglary convictions carried out a spree of break-ins across Chaddesden in less than a week.
Derby Crown Court heard how Dean Neal targeted properties close to his own home in Matlock Road, just days after being released on licence from a previous prison term.
He used his “skills” as an experienced thief to remove windows from the properties to get in before ransacking them and taking cash and items to sell to pay off a drug debt.
But he was snared after footprints he left at the scene of his offences – including some which were discovered in the snow – linked him to the crimes.
Now he is back behind bars for another 45 months after admitting he was responsible for four burglaries and an attempted burglary.
Judge Nirmal Shant QC, Honorary Recorder of Derby, told the 32-year-old: “You are a habitual burglar.
“You are somebody who goes equipped to burgle people’s homes.
“That is evident by the skills you have at removing people’s windows and the fact that you were caught carrying a screwdriver when you were arrested close to the site of one of the offences.
“I have no doubt you have issues with drugs. However, I am afraid the court has attempted to assist you but you continue to burgle people’s homes.
“If I summarise the victim impact statements, everyone of them says how they feel anxious, nervous and they now want to move home.
“They no longer feel secure in their own homes and that’s what you have done to them.
“It seems ever-increasing sentences are not a deterrent to you.”
Rebecca Coleman, prosecuting, said four burglaries and an attempted burglary all took place in just six days in Chaddesden.
The first happened at a property in Ashfield Avenue on March 2 where the owner was alerted to the break-in by her son.
Miss Coleman said: “She returned and saw that a rear ground floor kitchen window had been removed and outside foot marks had been left in the snow.
“Among the items stolen from that address were two birthday cards that contained tickets for the Lion King show in London.”
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Neal then attempted to break into a house in Winster Drive on March 5 but was unable to get in.
Miss Coleman said on the same day a house in St Andrew’s View was broken into by Neal where cash was taken.
His final two burglaries happened on March 7 in Wingfield Drive and on March 8 in Camborne Close.
Miss Coleman said: “The defendant was arrested very close to the Camborne Close address at 2pm on March 8 and was found to be in possession of a screwdriver.
“He was arrested and his footwear matched prints left at the burglaries.”
She told the court how Neal has six previous convictions for burglary which cover a number of break-ins across Derby since 2009.
He pleaded guilty to four burglaries and one attempted burglary for the early March offences.
Emma Hodgson, for Neal, said her client had only been released on licence from his last prison term a short while before these offences happened.
She said: “It was a spree of burglaries over a short period of time and took place because drug dealers found him and made him carry them out to pay off a drugs debt.”
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