A PROLIFIC burglar who was given another chance after breaking into a Darlington restaurant has been jailed after burgling a dental practise days later.

Matthew Nathaniel Simons appeared before magistrates sitting at Newton Aycliffe last Thursday, October 8, where he was given a suspended prison sentence for his 38th burglary conviction.

Yesterday, the same court heard that the 46-year-old had carried out another offence three days after being handed a suspended prison sentence.

Jonathan Hanratty, prosecuting, said: “The defendant was released from custody on October 5, he was arrested for burglary on October 7 and sentenced on October 8.

“This latest offence takes place on October 11, only three days later, which the Crown would say is an aggravating feature.

“The defendant was witnessed by a member of the public smashing a window to gain entry into Cleveland Dental Practice.

“Once inside he emptied the till of £31.59 and also took some documents.”

The dental practise owner said in a statement: “The burglary has had a significant impact on the business and we are already operating on a reduced service anyway because of the pandemic.

“The cost of boarding up the window alone was £140, we have been quoted between £200-£250 for it to be repaired.”

Simons, of Tom Raine Court, Darlington, pleaded guilty to one count of burglary theft.

Stephen Andrews, mitigating, said his client committed the offence to buy heroin or “black-market methadone.”

He added: “You have heard that he was dealt with on October 8, well the following day he was arrested for an offence in which he was not charged, but he was kept in custody for almost 24 hours and when he was released he had missed the last call at NECA for his methadone prescription.

“To go from stable methadone prescription to nothing obviously causes problems and he had to find a way to get heroin or black-market methadone. He was released from custody and again had no methadone and no money.”

Ian Neal, chair of the bench, said: “There is a pattern of behaviour here and we cannot get away from the fact that you have breached a suspended sentence and so we are going to activate it.”

Simons was jailed for 12 weeks in total and he was also ordered to pay £371.59 compensation to Cleveland Dental Practice.