Serial burglar claimed he had a bad back which meant he couldn’t climb through windows

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A SERIAL burglar has been jailed for over two years under the three-strikes rule.

David Crabtree, 26, forced open a window before climbing through it into a house in Jarrow and taking a £220 television while his victim was away visiting a friend.

The victim said he had known the defendant since he was a child, and he had been to his home on one occasion, but would not have left fingerprints on the window.

Michael Bunch, prosecuting

Michael Bunch, prosecuting, told Newcastle Crown Court: “The burglary was reported to the police, and the defendent’s fingerprints were found on the window.

“The victim said he had known the defendant since he was a child and that the defendant had been to his home on one occasion but would not have left fingerprints on the window, and the windows had been cleaned a number of times since.”

When Crabtree, of Devonshire Road, South Shields, was arrested, he said he knew the victim but claimed he wasn’t responsible for the burglary.

He had a bad back which would have prevented him climbing through a window, he added.

He gave no explanation for the fingerprints.

Crabtree had pleaded guilty to burglary at a previous hearing.

Thomas Laffey, defending, said: “My only submission is that he pleaded guilty straight away and he should get the maximum credit he is entitled to under the legislation.”

Recorder Simon Batiste told Crabtree: “You are 26 years old and you have a terrible record of previous convictions.

“You are a third-strike burglar now.

“There must have been some planning in order to gain entry to the house and some force to get into it.

“You pleaded guilty to this matter at first opportunity, and I will give you credit. Given that this is your third burglary, I am requested to pass the minimum-term sentence upon you.”

Recorder Batiste sentenced Crabtree to 876 days in prison.