A man pulled over by police told officers he had three balaclavas with him because he got “cold in winter” – even though it was June.
Darren Hipgrave, 49, was ushered to the side of the road in a van in temperatures of 25C.
Officers found a crowbar, bolt croppers, a “jiggle key” used to break into cars, three cloned numberplates, three balaclavas and gloves.
Hipgrave was pulled over as he drove towards Warboys, Cambs, on June 18 last year.
He had been jailed in 2001 for robberies on petrol stations across Bedfordshire when he wore balaclavas.
Last week he pleaded guilty to charges that included being equipped to steal and driving a vehicle with no insurance or licence.
He was handed a suspended 18-month term at Cambridge crown court.
Officers said that Hipgrave tried to explain the other items away by claiming he’d cleared his shed out.
Cambridgeshire Police added: “Hipgrave claimed he had cleared his shed out and the three cloned plates were from cars he used to own, but officers found the plates matched those of three legitimate plates on other vehicles.”