A SOUTHAMPTON Crown Court judge has told a prolific offender to expect "no mercy" if he commits more crimes.

Matthew Amos was spared an immediate jail term for carrying out burglaries but was warned he would face a tougher sentence if he continued to break the law.

Judge Peter Henry told the defendant he had an "appalling" record.

He added: "You have 33 convictions involving 103 offences. You have displayed a pattern of behaviour which is consistent with a drug user who has been stealing to try to fund his habit.

"You have committed offences very regularly and persistently."

Amos, 35, of Buckstone Close, Everton, had previously pleaded guilty to two offences of burglary and two of making a false representation using a stolen bank card. The offences were committed in Totton in 2019.

Keely Harvey, mitigating, said the defendant was making good progress.

She told the court: "The Matthew Amos in court today is quite different from the Matthew Amos who committed these offences."

The defendant was handed a two-year jail term, suspended for two years. He was also told to complete 150 hours of unpaid work.

Judge Henry told him: "You seem to have stayed out of trouble for a considerable time.

"There are very real signs you may have turned a corner. I'm not convinced but I'm prepared to give you the benefit of the doubt.

"These two burglaries were effectively distraction burglaries. The occupants (of the houses) were there when they happened."

Referring to the sentence he had just imposed Judge Henry added: "If you breach this order in any way, you can expect to be brought in front of me again, and I shall show no further mercy."

As he left the dock Amos told the judge: "Thank you for giving me a chance."