A FIFTH-STRIKE burglar cut wires to prevent CCTV coverage of him breaking into a house while the occupiers were away from home.

Terry Wilson carried out an untidy search of the premises in Shotton Colliery before taking several household items and jewellery.

Durham Crown Court heard that he was seen wearing a distinctive brown jacket at a chemist’s shop in the village Front Street, where he lingered for ten minutes, on the afternoon of December 9.

Chris Wood, prosecuting, said minutes later he was seen knocking on the door at an address on the Ashbrooke Estate, at about 4.30pm.

On receiving no answer, he went to the back of the property and took a spade and garden shears from a shed, using them to cut wires leading from a camera, cutting out the CCTV system.

He then smashed a kitchen window, rummaged round the house, and stole jewellery, training shoes and alcohol, before leaving.

A female householder returned home later to discover the mess made by the intruder, contacted her husband and informed police.

Dr Wood said the stolen items were recovered from Wilson’s home in nearby Wingate, from where the distinctive jacket was seized.

The stolen goods were returned to the victims.

Appearing at the court via video link from Durham Prison, Wilson, 41, of North Road West, admitted burglary.

The court heard among his 104 past offences are four previous house burglaries.

Jane Waugh, mitigating, said Wilson has struggled with a drug addiction for most of his adult life and was under the influence of medication at the time of the offence.

“He has let himself down again and is working with agencies in prison to try to rid himself of his addiction,” she said.

Imposing a three-year prison sentence, Judge James Adkin described Wilson as, “a professional burglar”, adding: “All dwelling house burglaries are upsetting for the occupants because their privacy is violated, and, in this case, there was an untidy search.”