A PROLIFIC house burglar serving six years for breaking into people’s homes was today locked up for 20 months for smashing his way into an address in Burley in Wharfedale and ransacking it.

Wayne Thornton appeared before Bradford Crown Court on a video link to HMP Northumberland where it was stated he was undergoing an intensive course to help with his issues with drink and drugs.

Thornton, 46, whose address was given as the prison, pleaded guilty to raiding the property between December 5 and 9, 2020.

Prosecutor Daniel Ingham said he smashed a conservatory door with a brick to burgle it.

The householder returned to find his home ransacked and two laptop computers and a passport stolen.

Thornton had left his blood at the crime scene but told the police it wasn’t him and he had never been there. Asked to explain why his blood was in a wardrobe he said he didn’t know.

He had 27 previous convictions for 82 offences, including 18 house burglaries, but almost all of them predated the year when the ‘third strike’ three-year minimum term was introduced.

In January last year, he was locked up for six years for a series of house burglaries.

The Telegraph & Argus reported at the time that he raided almost £25,000 worth of property from one of the three homes he targeted.

Today, Ian Hudson said in mitigation that Thornton wasn’t due for release until September next year.  He asked the court to impose a sentence that would not increase his time behind bars.

He said Thornton had picked up the brick at the scene. He did not go there with tools to force entry.

He was completing an intensive course in prison to deal with issues of drink and drugs.

Thornton had been in gainful employment for many years and he hoped to get back on track when he was released.

Recorder Tahir Khan QC said it was a serious offence of burglary with a degree of ransacking.

Thornton had a bad record with convictions dating back to 1988 for dishonesty, including burglary.

On January 22 last year, he was jailed for six years for a number of house burglaries and would remain in custody until September 6 next year.

Recorder Khan said he now had to consider what that sentence would have been if it had included the Burley in Wharfedale burglary.

He jailed Thornton for 20 months starting today, saying it would be subsumed in the sentence he was already serving.