A HEARTLESS teenager carried out a Christmas Day burglary and stole a family's presents from under the tree while they slept upstairs.

Thief Carl Cheyne struck in the early hours after spotting a small dining room window left open and climbing inside.

Southampton Crown Court, sitting in Winchester, heard how the 18-year-old - most probably with the help of others - then helped himself to 30 presents, bottles of alcohol, a laptop and a Tablet before making his getaway.

But the burglar, who has been committing crimes since the age of 11, wasn't clever enough to not get caught after leaving his fingerprints and a whole palm print on the inner windowsill of the house.

Prosecutor Eleanor Fargin told how the victims woke on Christmas Day and only discovered the break in when they went downstairs. Presents that had been taken included baby clothing and children's toys which were later found dumped nearby.

Police in the area also discovered some gifts which were soaking wet and no longer usable.

Officers arrested Cheyne on December 28 and he was interviewed twice but made no comment. At court, he pleaded guilty to burglary - the third break-in he had committed since August 2011.

The court was told he had 21 previous convictions for 46 offences and much of his offending had been done to fund his drug and alcohol addiction.

Defending, John Dyer said Cheyne had not been able to function in society during his entire life. His mother was a recovering alcoholic, his father an alcoholic and he had no siblings or grandparents who could raise him.

Sentencing Cheyne to two years and five months in a young offenders institution, Judge Guy Boney said it would hopefully give him the stability he lacked completely in his life.