A “PERSISTENT” burglar who stole cash and charity boxes to fund his drug habit has been jailed for two years.

Timothy Hempsey, 28, smashed his way into a jewellers, a takeaway, a fish and chip shop, and an equestrian store, the first raid coming only three hours after he was released on bail for dangerous driving.

Hempsey was already in custody ahead of his sentencing at Bradford Crown Court after being jailed for failing to attend an earlier hearing.

Prosecutor Ciara Riordan told the court that at about 1.30am on June 29, police saw Hempsey driving a Ford Transit van in the car park of Asda on Rooley Lane in Bradford.

The van was driven without lights, and officers saw the defendant swerve to avoid mounting a kerb as he drove towards them.

After they indicated for him to stop, Hempsey sped off and led police on a two-and-a-half mile chase during which he drove at 60mph on a 30mph section of Bowling Hall Road, nearly crashed into a car pulling out of a junction on Brassey Road, ran red lights, and drove the wrong way around a mini-roundabout.

After stopping on Manchester Road, he tried to evade officers by leaping a five-foot fence but was caught and arrested.

Hempsey, who was found to have a small amount of cannabis on him, told police he had bought the van from a “traveller called John” a few days previously, and said he had been at Asda to buy a new headlight bulb.

Miss Riordan said Hempsey was released from custody on bail at about 4.30pm that day but three hours later he struck at a jewellers in Leeds Old Road in Bradford, smashing through a glass window at the front of the shop.

As well as causing £700 of damage, he took £200 from the till, two charity boxes, and rifled through boxes of rings and earrings.

The court heard that Hempsey then struck twice in the early hours of July 20, first causing £450 of damage by forcing entry to Rajas takeaway in Otley Road, Bradford, to steal £360 in cash from under the counter and two charity boxes.

About 25 minutes later, he smashed the shutters of Barkerend Fisheries on Barkerend Road, causing £100 of damage, before stealing £100 cash from the till and another charity box.

On August 1, he broke into Wharfedale Equestrian shop in Guiseley and took £196.25 from the till.

Hempsey, of Idlethorp Way, Thorpe Edge, Bradford, pleaded guilty to four counts of burglary, dangerous driving, possession of cannabis, driving while disqualified, and driving without insurance.

Giles Bridge, for Hempsey, said his client’s offending had been triggered by a decrease in his work as a labourer and gardener and his increasing drug use. He said the defendant had spent the money he stole on drugs and a “vain attempt” to support his partner and two year-old daughter.

Jailing "persistent offender" Hempsey, the Recorder of Bradford, Judge Jonathan Durham Hall QC, said he had committed all the burglaries while on bail for the dangerous driving offence and had “caused great upset and no little loss”.

On his release from prison, Hempsey will be banned from driving for two years and must take an extended re-test.