A prolific offender got two years’ jail after ransacking a Chesterfield house while the owners were away caring for a sick relative.
Homeless Shane Smith took a 47-inch television which cost £1,500 which had involved the victims saving for over months, a court heard last Monday.
They could only afford a cheap 19-inch replacement after returning to their home on Derby Road, Chesterfield, when police discovered the break-in on October 15, according to the court.
Smith, 29, pleaded guilty to burglary and had one case of shop theft taken into consideration when he appeared at Nottingham Crown Court.
Judge James Sampson said he had 72 previous convictions and told him: “You are clearly a prolific offender.
“You have a dreadful record, not only of offending but for having failed to comply with court orders time and time again.”
The burglary was found by a police officer who was carrying out a routine check. A door panel had been smashed, said Lisa Hardy, prosecuting.
Police revealed how footprints were found and officers identified Smith through fingerprints. The house had been ransacked and every room searched, added Miss Hardy.
In a statement, the woman occupier said she now felt unsafe when her husband was out.
They were new to the area and had been left “looking at people, particularly neighbours, with suspicion.”
Annette Thomas, mitigating, said Smith had been looking for somewhere to stay but knew he should not have entered the property.
Mrs Thomas said: “He accepts the distress it would cause to the victims. He is remorseful and would like the chance to prove himself.”
Smith had a drugs problem but had tackled that while in custody awaiting sentence, according to Mrs Thomas.
She added: “He said he is sick of drugs. He wants to have help and support with his motivation. He accepts he has not complied with orders in the past.”