A SERIAL burglar is back behind bars following a spate of incidents after he fell back into the grip of addiction.

Christopher Leighton was caught on CCTV and recognised by police community support officers on several occasions as he targeted a jeweller, two home and stole bikes from outside of shops in Redcar.

The 52-year-old had a number of previous convictions and had served several years in custody for similar offences, Teesside Crown Court heard.

Emma Atkinson, prosecuting, said his offending took place over a four month period this year, which started with the theft of a bike in January, before he attempted to break into H Samuel jewellers on the High Street in March and then targeting two homes in the space of 30 minutes of May 27 after stealing another bike.

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She told the court how Leighton, pictured above, and an accomplice used a metal bar to try and force their way into the jewellery store in the early hours but were spotted on CCTV and was stopped in his tracks by police dog Harley.

While on bail for the attempted burglary, Leighton stole a pushbike from outside a shop before riding through the town and picking out two homes to burgle.

The owner of the his first target on Corporation Road was alerted to him acting suspiciously outside before being confronted and leaving empty handed.

Thirty minutes later he was captured on CCTV targeting the home of a vulnerable man in his 70s. A PCSO recognised the defendant and he was arrested and charged with burglary with intent to steal, Miss Atkinson said.

Leighton, of West Dyke Road, Redcar, pleaded guilty to two attempted burglaries, burglary with intent to steal and two theft charges.

John Nixon, in mitigation, said his client had stayed out of trouble for 15 months following his release from a substantial prison sentence before slipping into his old drug and alcohol habits.

Judge Deborah Sherwin said: "You are somebody who has an appalling record for being in trouble, committing burglaries and other offences over many years.

"I don't underestimate how much effort it takes to keep you out for trouble for 15 months. However, the drink and crack cocaine got the better of you again and you returned to your old ways."

Leighton was jailed for three years and seven months.