A burglar who has appeared in court every year since 1994 has been jailed after racking up an astonishing 171 offences.
Vincent Sparkes, 39, known as ‘Bandit’ because he has one arm, has a string of convictions dating back at least 25 years and even went out stealing DURING a previous trial.
A jury has now found him guilty of his most recent offence, a break in last September, despite not hearing about his previous offending.
Judge Robert Pawson noted he had been before a court every year for a quarter of a century, adding: ‘the public deserves a break from you’.
The jury at Swindon Crown Court heard Sparkes had targeted the home of a man in the town, in broad daylight on September 20.
After looking through the window and seeing the householder asleep he climbed through a window.
It is thought he was hoping to get his hands on morphine which the victim was prescribed for his condition.
But the defendant had forgotten the victim’s daughter often stayed with her dad and, once inside, he was confronted by her asking what he was doing.
Sparkes denied the charge of burglary, saying he had tapped on the window and was not stealing.
The court heard during a previous trial the night before the jury retired to consider their verdict he was caught by police on enclosed premises.
And in February this year he was jailed for 20 weeks for breaching a suspended sentence by trying to break into cars.
Tony Bignall, defending, said his client had long standing addictions to hard drugs and alcohol which led to his offending.
Following his release from prison earlier this year he said he had been homeless as his partner, who he has children with, won’t have him back.
Jailing him for four years and two months the judge said: “You have been given chances time after time again by the courts.
“You have been sent to probation so they can not only punish but rehabilitate you.
“Every year from 1994 to this year you have been in court almost for matters of dishonesty, 75 convictions for 171 offences.
“Unfortunately there comes a time where there are no options left for the court. The public deserves a break from you.”