IT WAS a case of "many unhappy returns" to prison for a serial housebreaker locked up on his birthday for burgling the home of a 92-year-old woman.
Peter Blythe, 54, was today jailed for 32 months for breaching the security system at the pensioner's maisonette and stealing her television set while she slept at night.
Blythe, of Radwell Drive, Little Horton, Bradford, had served previous jail terms of four years and six years for house burglary.
Prosecutor Allan Armbrister told Bradford Crown Court the defendant was a "third strike" burglar facing a minimum three year jail sentence.
Blythe, a drug addict, raided the home of his victim, at sheltered accommodation in Hereford Way, East Bowling, Bradford, overnight between May 4 and 5.
Mr Armbrister said the pensioner lived in a small maisonette, obviously part of a complex occupied by elderly people.
Blythe somehow removed a metal security bar on a window, climbed in and made an untidy search.
He took the £300 television set and made good his escape out of the same window.
A neighbour saw the property had been broken into in the morning and raised the alarm.
The court heard that the victim had very little capacity to recall things and would not remember an intruder being present in her home.
But her son and his wife were shocked and dismayed that "a lady of that age was burgled in that way."
The stolen television set was recovered and Blythe immediately confessed to the crime when the police told him the age of his victim.
His solicitor advocate, Anne-Marie Hutton, said that people of all ages lived in the maisonettes in that area.
It was an opportunistic offence and Blythe pleaded guilty at the first opportunity.
He was released from his last jail sentence in 2012 and began taking drugs again when his relationship broke down.
Judge Colin Burn said Blythe had received two previous substantial sentences for house burglary.
Although he did not know the age of his victim, he knew it was a housing complex where elderly people lived.
"That is the risk you run when you go into someone's home at night in an area like this," Judge Burn said.