A SERIAL burglar who brought misery to householders in neighbouring town streets, is back behind bars.

Shane Cameron Mather, 38, was responsible for what a judge termed, “a one-man crime wave”, in July and August, on a housing estate in Spennymoor, even returning to two previously burgled premises in his quest for further plunder.

Durham Crown Court was told he targeted mainly garages, but as one was attached to the property to which it belonged, it was classed as a dwelling burglary.

It put Mather in jeopardy of a mandatory three-year starting point for a jail sentence, as a “third-strike” burglar.

Shaun Dryden prosecuting, said a variety of tools, some of sentimental value, having belonged to one victim’s grandfather, a mountain bike, and other items were taken from garages and a handbag was removed from a parked car.

All were in the vicinity of Studley Drive, Jubilee Road, Jubilee Close and surrounding area.

Mr Dryden said one man leaving home early on the morning of August 10 saw Mather, who he recognised from school days, on the stolen mountain bike.

He told him he hoped he was not stealing, to which Mather responded: “I’m no thief.”

Mr Dryden said Mather was eventually arrested at St Paul’s Community Centre, while carrying a lock knife.

A search of his home address in Baff Street, Spennymoor, revealed some of the stolen tools .

Mather admitted three counts of burglary, two handling stolen goods, and one each of possessing a bladed article in public and theft. The court heard he has 35 previous convictions for 77 offences.

Stephen Hamill, mitigating, said, “as abhorrent” as it was, Mather considered he targeted garages and such-like, and not inside victims’ houses.

Jailing him for 40-months, Judge Jonathan Carroll told Mr Hamill: “He’s a one-man crime wave, on an estate driven to absolute distraction by his persistent targeting of them.”