A SERIAL burglar is back behind bars after taking part in a flat break-in, despite claiming he was unaware of the nature of the offence until reaching the scene.

Karl Devine was on licence supervision after release midway through an-eight year sentence for a series of burglaries, imposed in 2015.

But Devine, 46, of Sacriston, County Durham, was involved in the burglary of a ground-floor flat in Pimlico, London, overnight on September 14/15 last year.

Appearing at Durham Crown Court by video link from the city’s prison, he told the court he thought he was going to the flat to help a man recover possessions.

But Chris Baker, prosecuting, said Devine’s finger print was found inside a window frame and his shoes were found outside the premises, in Bessborough Place.

Mr Baker said entry was made by a living room window and a mobile phone, cash and other personal property were stolen, while the keys to a works’ van, parked outside, were also taken.

a tracker device on the Renault van revealed it was removed at 11.45pm, driven a short distance and left in a nearby street, at 3.45am.

A DNA lift matching with Devine was found on the indicator and other controls.

Devine, of Viola Crescent, admitted burglary, taking a vehicle without consent and driving while disqualified and without insurance.

The court heard he has 46 convictions and is now a ‘fifth-strike’ burglar, subject to minimum three-year sentencing provisions.

Lewis Kerr, mitigating, said on his release on licence from the eight-year sentence Devine was unable to return to County Durham and was living rough.

Mr Kerr said he was approached by someone asking him to assist in recovering property from an address, but when he realised he true nature of what was taking place, “he should have distanced himself from it.”

Judge James Adkin said he had no choice but to impose a three-year sentence in line with guidelines, but the court heard Devine is now being recalled to serve the unserved remainder of the eight-year sentence.