DESPITE an impassioned plea that he should be put on an alcohol rehabilitation course, a career criminal was jailed at Winchester Crown Court.

John Martin, who admitted breaking into a house in Southampton and stealing £2,500 worth of goods, pleaded: “I have never asked for help before. I genuinely believe I can sort myself out. It was stupid of me and I’m prepared to do anything asked of me.”

But Judge Gary Burrell QC described Martin, 45, of Beauworth Avenue, Southampton, as a persistent, professional burglar. Jailing him for two years and five months, he said: “Burglary is abhorrent to the public and is something that scars people who never forget their homes have been entered.”

Martin was arrested after neighbours spotted him clambering out of a window. The property was recovered.