A gang of car-obsessed young men carried out dozens of house burglaries, a court heard.

As well as taking keys to vehicles parked outside homes the burglars stole mobile phones, wallets and satellite navigation systems. Yesterday, David Waterhouse, 20, was locked up for three years and nine months after he confessed his involvement.

Waterhouse came clean about dozens of offences under the police's "clean slate'' initiative while on remand in February, but Bradford Crown Court heard yesterday that he went on to commit more offences in June and July.

Waterhouse, of Fairfax Avenue, Bierley, pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing to a so-called Hanoi burglary in Highmoor Lane, Cleckheaton, when the keys to a Mazda were taken from the kitchen while the occupiers were asleep. The car was driven away but was recovered not far from Waterhouse's home and his barrister Ian Howard emphasised stealing cars for profit was not the motive.

"He was one of a group of young people who have a fixation with motor cars,'' said Mr Howard.

"Unfortunately for them, while there were occasions when cars were taken from garages, they alighted on the idea of stealing keys from people's houses while they were asleep. It is a group mentality that gives rise to the commission of these offences. It is not an individual desire to acquire property for profit.'' As well as the house burglary in March, 2005, Waterhouse also admitted taking a car without consent in April, 2005. But prosecutor Simon Myers told Recorder David Tremberg Waterhouse had also asked for a further 100 offences - covering a period between March, 2003 and July this year - to be considered.

Theses amounted to 42 house burglaries, 13 attempted break-ins at homes, three commercial burglaries, one theft and 41 incidents of taking cars without consent.

Property totalling £44,000 had been stolen during the offences and damage put at £14,000 had been caused.

The court heard Waterhouse had no previous convictions for burglary and Mr Howard suggested he was a prolific burglar rather than a professional one.

"These were young men with an immature attitude towards motor cars who alight on stealing keys from homes as their modus operandi for getting cars,'' he said.

Recorder Tremberg told Waterhouse the burglary in Cleckheaton had been a typical example of the group's behaviour. "Whatever your motive may have been, house burglary is a gross invasion of people's privacy,'' he said.