A SERIAL burglar broke into a dental surgery just months after being released from prison for threatening members of the public with an axe.

Andrew Clark, 44, was previously sentenced to 32 months in prison for shouting "people like you get your throats slit" on a public street.

But one year later he was back in court after breaking into a Hartlepool dental surgery and stealing several tools from a shop earlier the same day in June this year.

Teesside Crown Court heard Clark, who has 32 previous convictions including burglary, couldn’t remember breaking into the practice or stealing a £11.99 set of multitools because he was under the influence of Santex and Valium.

The grandfather claimed he fell into drug misuse and homelessness because he didn't receive adequate support when released from prison months before for threatening people with an axe.

Emma Atkinson, prosecuting, said: “The cleaners at the dental practice heard a noise and saw someone on the roof. When the police arrived the defendant was behind the reception next to the till. He forced his way in by smashing a window. His blood was splattered and there was a trail of blood after he cut his hand.

“He was previously sentenced to 32 months for possession of a bladed article and affray. He was brandishing an axe on a street and shouted ‘people like you get your throats slit’.”

Gary Wood, defending, said Clark struggled after he was released from prison.

He said: “He pleaded guilty at the first opportunity and was under the influence at the time. He had taken Santex and Valium. He said he has no recollection of the incident and he can’t provide further explanation as to why he did it.

“He was released with no accommodation or immediate support. He found himself misusing drugs and homeless. He is a father-of-three and has recently become a grandfather. He wants to make an effort to stop further reoffending.”

Addressing Clark, Judge Peter Armstrong said: “You have a substantial record off 38 previous convictions for 101 offences, including burglary.

“On the 7th March last year you were sentenced to 32 months for affray and having been released on licence you committed and offence of theft and burglary.

“You were heard to be on the roof of the dental practice by cleaners. You got into the dental practice by smashing the window, cutting yourself in the process. You were slow in leaving.

"There is a possibility that in your state you were after more drugs but there is no evidence that this was a deliberate targeting.”

Clark, of Jameson Road, Hartlepool, was handed eight months in prison after admitting the theft and burglary.