A REGULAR past offender, faring well on a community order, blew his chances of retaining his liberty by burgling shop premises at night.

Michael Langley was on the order as an alternative to custody for burglary in May, last year.

Durham Crown Court was told Langley committed the, “rather crude” break-in at shop premises in Claypath, Durham.

Matthew Hopkins, prosecuting, said during the hours of darkness Langley used a brick to smash the front window of Durham Food Store before climbing into the premises.

He then removed a quantity of cash, cigarettes and alcohol.

The court was told the haul was valued at £1,600, “a significant sum” for a small business.

Tony Davis, for Langley, said his offender manager’s report, “offers some glimmer of hope of him avoiding the path of recidivism, which appears to have plagued him.”

“It’s a stark choice where he spends another relatively short spell in custody or continues to engage in the community.

“It appears the effect of moving from Manchester back to the North-East has been the destabilising factor in him returning to offending.”

Mr Davis added that with the current support round him, his drug misuse, which has been, “the major problem in his existence,” could be tackled.

Langley, 41, of no fixed address, admitted the latest burglary.

Judge Ray Singh said: “This is a small shop just outside the city centre, which provides a useful service, where, no doubt, the takings are not significant.

“For someone to burgle those premises, with a total loss of £1,600, is a somewhat significant sum for them.

“There was a rather crude entry to take items no doubt to be sold to feed the addiction you have, and, it’s not the first time you have done this, at a time when you were on a community order.”

Imposing eight months of imprisonment, the judge said by his actions the defendant had “extinguished” that, “glimmer of hope”, and left him no alternative but to pass an immediate custodial sentence.