A burglar said “I haven’t done it” as he passed a stolen television set to his accomplice through a smashed apartment window, Bradford Crown Court heard.

Lee Bolton, a “third striker” with 81 previous convictions for offences of dishonesty, was jailed for two years and eight months for raiding the £100 TV from a flat in Walmer Villas, Manningham, Bradford.

Bolton, 42, who was living in one of the flats at the time, pleaded guilty to burgling a neighbour on June 15.

The court was told that a resident heard glass smashing at around 6pm and saw a woman dressed in black pacing up and down outside the building.

The witness then saw Bolton standing in the window holding the television set.

He called out “I haven’t done it” as he handed it to his female accomplice.

Bolton then climbed out through the broken pane and the couple made off towards Manningham Lane.

Police forced entry to Bolton’s home and found evidence of drug use, the court was told.

He was arrested and made no comment when questioned.

He had 42 previous convictions for 141 offences, of which 81 were for theft and similar matters.

Bolton was sentenced for housebreaking in 2003 and the following year he was imprisoned for five years for several similar offences.

His barrister, Mark Mckone, conceded that he was a “third-striker” but drew attention to the big gap in his offending behaviour.

Mr Mckone said Bolton wanted money for food and not drugs when he committed the burglary.

He thought the victim of the break-in had moved out of the flat.

Judge Richard Mansell QC said Bolton had “a lengthy and unenviable” criminal record.

He jailed him for the three-year minimum term, giving him credit for his guilty plea.