A SERIAL burglar, said to be as happy in prison as outside, was back behind bars within 48 hours of his release from his last sentence.

John Kinsella left prison on April 6 and by 1.30am the next morning broke into a house near where he was staying, at a relative’s address, in Ferryhill.

Durham Crown Court heard that he took two iPhones and cigarettes, worth an estimated total of £700, leaving a householder uneasy in a home he had lived for 15 years, and having to foot a £150 repair bill to a window.

Kinsella was quickly traced to a nearby house once it was reported to police.

Peter Sabiston, prosecuting, said despite cctv footage placing him near the targeted property, he made denials when arrested.

Asked about injuries to his hand, he claimed it happened while he was in prison.

It emerged that Kinsella had not only broken into the house in the short period while at liberty, but also committed three non-domestic burglaries, also in Ferryhill.

He took gardening equipment from an outhouse, in Park Terrace, and was captured on cctv removing the stolen items using a wheelie-bin from the property.

Mr Sabiston said forensic analysis of a blood sample left at the scene linked Kinsella to the crime.

He also took three charity boxes, having used a slab to smash his way into a confectionary shop, in North Street, where an untidy search was made.

Another untidy search was made at a property in Manor Close, from where further dna evidence linked to Kinsella was gathered, but no property was taken.

He made denials, but, faced with the evidence, subsequently made admissions to all four burglaries.

Kinsella, 49, of Carlton Street, was said to have 78 convictions for 204 offences.

Rod Hunt, in mitigation, said Kinsella’s pattern of repeat offending was becoming “the norm” as he has become “institutionalised”, as comfortable in prison as outside.

Jailing him for five years and three months, Judge Jonathan Carroll said Kinsella appeared to have made, “a lifestyle choice” to commit crimes which have had, “a disproportionate impact” on his local community.