A SERIAL offender with a drug addiction broke into a Hampshire house while the owner was taking her dog for an early morning walk.

She returned to her New Milton home to find the back door open and several items, including two laptop computers and a iPhone, had been taken.

However, a neighbour had seen a passer-by carrying a strong bag and acting suspiciously, and the police were contacted.

They discovered Benjamin Woodman had taken the haul to a local pawn shop where he sold it for £100, said prosecutor Fern Russell.

All the property was recovered, she added.

Woodman, 30, of Nelson Cottage, New Milton, admitted burglary and asked for a similar matter, in which he stole gold and silver rings worth £300, as well as an attempted burglary – both committed in the town – to be considered.

Said to have 38 previous convictions for 79 offences, he was jailed for two years.

In mitigation, Richard Saynor told Southampton Crown Court Woodman had been clear of drugs for about two years after going on a rehabilitation course but then suffered a flesh eating disorder on a leg which necessitated hospital treatment. As a result of being given morphine, he returned to drug taking.

Woodman, he said, had also been diagnosed with psychosis and a day before the burglary, paramedics had been called to his mother’s home but he ran off before they arrived.

Passing sentence, Recorder Ben Compton turned to Woodman’s mother in the public gallery and told her son: “You have tested her patience to the limit. The fact remains you are a burglar and it must stop.

“I hope when you are released, you will do something about your drug addiction or the rest of your life will be marked with custodial sentences that will be longer and longer.”