A SERIAL burglar who walked into an occupied house and stole a wallet headed straight to a McDonalds where he used a bank card he had taken to buy burgers.
The offences took place less than two weeks before John King was jailed for his part in a burglary at a dental surgery.
And just two days before he was due to be released from that sentence, King appeared in front of the same judge at Warwick Crown Court, having pleaded guilty to burglary and two charges of fraud.
This time, having heard he had cleaned himself up in prison and wanted to make a fresh start, Judge Andrew Lockhart QC decided to give him a chance to prove himself.
King, 44, of Raphael Close, Whoberley, Coventry, was given a 10-month prison sentence suspended for two years, and was ordered to take part in a Thinking Skills programme and to do 150 hours of unpaid work.
Prosecutor Daniel Wright said that in May last year King walked through the unlocked door of a house in Hewitt Avenue, Coventry, while the occupier was at home asleep, and stole a phone and wallet.
He then walked to a McDonalds restaurant where he used a bank card from the wallet to buy food.
And when he had finished that, King, who had convictions for more than 100 offences, including a number for burglary, did the same again.
Mr Wright added that at the time King was on bail for his part in a planned burglary at a Kenilworth dental practice, for which Judge Lockhart jailed him for two years in June last year.
Ian Windridge, defending, said: “The Mr King in the pre-sentence report is somewhat different from the Mr King who came before Your Honour 12 months ago.
“He is due to be released on licence from that two-year sentence in two days’ time.
“He can be released with requirements which the Probation Service are confident he will comply with.”
The judge observed that the offence was committed while on bail ‘literally days before I sentenced him.’
Mr Windridge responded: “He was still subject to a class A drug addiction at that time. He has had 12 months in custody when he has been able to think about his position and take steps towards improving.
“He is a man who, having reflected on life, Your Honour could give a chance to,” argued Mr Windridge, who pointed out it was King’s first dwelling house burglary since 2003.
Sentencing King, Judge Lockhart told him: “In the grip of a drug addiction you did something you had done many times before, you walked into someone’s house and took property, and used that to commit other offences.
“This offence took place while you were on bail for burglary, and just a few days before I sentenced you for it. But, against my better judgement, I will give you a chance.”