A PROLIFIC burglar who stole £4,000 worth of tools and stashed them in a nearby graveyard has been jailed.

South Durham Magistrates’ Court heard how Rory Whitehead targeted businesses and a care home to steal belongings from within.

The repeat offender pleaded guilty to four charges in total, two of burglary with intent to steal, burglary theft and attempted burglary with intent to steal.

The charges relate back to a crime spree in January of this year that began with Whitehead jumping over a customer service desk in an Asda store in Front Street, Stanley and attempting to open the till.

Between January 22 and 23 he burgled Rob Dodds Autos, stealing tools worth more than £4,000 after climbing onto the roof and breaking in through a skylight.

All but one piece of property was recovered, found by police searching a nearby graveyard.

On January 23 the 41-year-old attempted to gain entry to Clearance Bargains store, also in Stanley, by breaking a window and pulling on doors before being confronted by a member of the public and making off.

He was already banned from the store and recognised by staff who had come in early to clean.

And on the same day he burgled St Andrews Nursing Home, in Stanley, after climbing onto the roof and smashing a window to the staff room.

He then broke into secure lockers and took belongings.

Whitehead was sentenced to 32 months and 14 days in prison and ordered to pay a £170 victim surcharge by Deputy Circuit Judge Paul Worsley.

Acting detective sergeant Mal Ord, said: “Whitehead is a prolific burglar and we are pleased he has received a lengthy prison sentence to reflect the seriousness of this type of crime.

“Burglaries are devastating for victims, especially involving businesses, and we will continue to bring these criminals to justice.”