A SERIAL burglar who targeted a locked launderette in an overnight break-in, was jailed for two years and six months.

Peter Winter made only about £5 from his exploits, after taking the till when he smashed his way into the Old Cinema Launderette in Gilesgate, Durham, at about midnight on Saturday, July 12.

But, Durham Crown Court heard that he caused £534 damage in the process, the second burglary in a short period at the converted art-deco cinema in Marshall Terrace, on Sunderland Road.

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The court was told the badly damaged till was found in the garden of a house in which Winter was living at the time, only 100-metres away.

David Lamb, prosecuting, said the front window of the premises was smashed by the burglar, but he was unable to be identified on cctv footage as he was wearing a top with the hood pulled over his head at the time.

Mr Lamb said Winter’s name “came up” in conversations about possible perpetrators when the first burglary took place at the launderette and police arrested him the day after the second raid, having recovered the till from a garden shed.

The till was damaged beyond repair and owners spent several hours cleaning up, and overseeing other repairs.

Winter, previously of High Street North, Langley Moor, denied involvement when initially interviewed but he pleaded guilty to the burglary at the first hearing in the case at the court last month.

Today’s (Friday August 15) sentencing hearing was told he has a long record for burglary and the offence put him in breach of a six month prison sentence, suspended for a year, for another break in, imposed only weeks before the latest incident.

Yvonne Taylor, mitigating, told the court that Winter made early admissions when the case came to court and has since shown “genuine remorse”.

She said he was generally a good family man, but becomes “a different person” when under the influence of drink and drugs.

Jailing him, Judge Peter Kelson imposed a two year sentence for the burglary, but added five months of the suspended sentence and one month, consecutively, for the breach.

The judge mentioned the impact the raid had on hard-working businesspeople trying to make a success of their venture.

He added that there were “marks of professionalism” in the way Winter ensured his face was covered so he could not be identified on cctv.