A THIRD-strike burglar, described by the judge as in fact a “23rd-strike burglar”, has been jailed for three years.

Peter Firth, a relapsed drug addict, broke into a house in Bradford in May this year in order to fund his drug habit, Bradford Crown Court heard.

This was his dwelling house burglary conviction number 23.

The offence was also carried out while he was on licence from a four-year prison sentence imposed for the same type of offence and in the last weeks of a 12-month conditional discharge too.

In sentencing Recorder Craig Hassall KC said: “You are not just a third-strike burglar – you are a 23rd-strike burglar.

“The seriousness of your offending is significantly aggravated by an unenviable record of previous convictions and the fact that you are continuing by this latest offence to breach previous court orders – your licence and the conditional discharge.”

The court was told that Firth, wearing a balaclava, was caught on CCTV leaving a house on Hampden Place in Bradford, on May 27, with a PS4 under his arm and a Gucci bag in the other hand.

The house in question had been empty between 2.30 and 4.30pm that day and when the resident returned, she realised a door panel had been removed and around £1,500 of goods were missing.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Bradford Crown CourtBradford Crown Court (Image: Newsquest)

These included the games console, a Gucci handbag containing passports and an ID card, as well as gold jewellery.

Firth, 42, of Maxwell Road, Buttershaw, was later recognised by police from CCTV footage provided by a neighbour.

Officers searched Firth’s home and found a balaclava, gloves and a crowbar as well as a jumper that matched what was worn on the CCTV footage. The stolen goods were never recovered.

In interview he denied he had been to Hampden Place on that day and said it was not him on the CCTV.

He later pleaded guilty when the case came to court.

In mitigation, the court heard that Firth had been drug-free for a period, having established a relationship with his daughter after more than 20 years of being estranged.

But when his daughter and granddaughter moved away, this was the catalyst for him to fall back into drug use.

“This is a man who tried to turn his life around. Clearly something got in the way, and he simply returned back to what he knew,” his barrister said.

An order was made to destroy the crowbar.