A BURGLAR who entered homes through windows, left open in the height of a record-breaking hot summer, has been jailed.

Peteris Mahonins scouted out homes across Southampton, Romsey and West Sussex, and ransacked them while the owners were out.

In one raid, the 33-year-old stole a collection of guitars and music equipment, estimated to be worth more than £13,000.

On Thursday, Mahonins was jailed for more than three years after pleading guilty to four counts of burglary.

Southampton Crown Court heard Mahonins was part of a group who targeted homes across south Hampshire and neighbouring West Sussex last summer.

Prosecutor Richard Martin told the court how Mahonins originally began as the driver in the group, who targeted homes with windows left open.

But in June, Mr Martin said Mahonins began entering the properties himself.

On June 22, he was involved in a burglary in Lodge Road, Southampton, where he broke into the property by forcing the front door.

He stole more than £1,000 in electrical gadgets, including a laptop and a car key, belonging to the homeowner.

Days later, he targeted a home in Hillside Avenue, Romsey, stealing £3,000 worth of electronics, including an Ipod.

He then targeted a home in Glen Eyre Drive, Southampton, in July, from which he stole £3,500 worth of valuables, including a watch of sentimental value, given to the homeowner by his late grandfather.

His last burglary took place at a home in Chichester, West Sussex, from which he stole £13,000 worth of guitars and musical equipment.

Mr Martin said in the last three burglaries, Mahonins gained entry through open windows.

He said: "This defendant was clearly driving some distances in order to target properties with windows left open in the height of last summer, which was particularly hot."

Mr Martin added that Mahonins left DNA at each property he burgled, including one home, which he left a black glove.

In mitigation, Christopher Gaiger said Mahonins had "fallen into the wrong crowd" after a break-up with the mother of his child.

He added that Mahonins had a "subordinate role" in the group, had shown remorse and pleaded guilty to the offences.

Mahonins also admitted eight counts of handling stolen goods, which he asked the court to taken into consideration in sentencing.

Recorder James Maxwell-Scott QC jailed Mahonins for 38 months.

He said:"Burglary, particularly when homes are ransacked, can be very upsetting and distressing for people who live in those homes.

"These offences are so serious that only an immediate custodial sentence can be justified."