A CRIMINAL behaviour order (Crasbo) has been issued against a man who has stolen from and burgled the homes of townsfolk often while purporting to be canvassing for work as a handyman.

The five-year Crasbo forbids John Oliver Thompson from knocking at doors touting for odd-job work, or asking for money for any other reasons, while he must not remain on other people’s property when asked to leave.

It was issued at Durham Crown Court as Thompson, now a “third-strike” burglar, was jailed for three years for a spate of offences, some inflicted on people with vulnerabilities, all committed in Ferryhill late last year.

The court heard he stole property from fellow residents in supported accommodation, while among the premises he burgled included the home of a woman registered as disabled.

Thompson took computer equipment, a television set and the keys to a mobility car, which was then driven away from outside the property.

Victoria Lamballe, prosecuting, said the car contained the householder’s mobility wheelchair.

Bank cards stolen by Thompson were used to buy £27-worth of scratch cards, plus other items costing £40.

Miss Lamballe said Thompson was seen removing the tv set from a house in Bessemer Street, which was not recovered and local cctv captured him covering his head with bed sheets entering other premises in the street, which were ransacked.

Thompson was arrested in the early hours of November 27 and denied allegations put to him, but after two days in custody he indicated to police where he had stored stolen items and the location he abandoned the stolen car and keys, leading to their recovery and return.

Thirty-seven-year-old Thompson, of Kitchener Terrace, Ferryhill, admitted three counts of burglary, two each of theft and fraud by false representation, and asked for two further theft offences to be considered.

The court heard he has 19 previous convictions for 45 offences, including domestic burglaries in 2001 and 2004.

Ismael Uddin, for Thompson, said he wanted to apologise to his victims, which he described as a genuine apology, as seen by his active efforts to help police pinpoint and return stolen property.

He said the long-term drug user went into a spiral of addiction after the death of two close relatives last year, but at 37 realises it’s time he, “reached the end of the road” in terms of his offending.

Jailing him and imposing the order, Judge Ray Singh said some of his crimes were “particularly mean offences”, and they could not just be passed off as, “opportunistic”.

But the judge added that Thompson’s “only saving grace” was the help given to police leading to the return of the stolen property.