A “career criminal” struggling to keep on the right path has been jailed after an eagle-eyed neighbour spotted him burgling a Blackpool home – as the occupant slept inside.
Aaron McGough was spotted looking into the windows of homes he cycled past on Peter Street.
An alert neighbour called the police – and McGough was caught red-handed with stolen items.
The 32-year-old, of Reads Avenue, Blackpool, had pleaded guilty to burglary.
He was also sentenced at Preston Crown Court for breaching a community order made in June for taking alcohol from the outhouse of a hotel.
The burglary happened around 6am on July 17.
Richard Archer, prosecuting, told how a neighbour looking out of his home saw a man cycle past his Peter Street address.
“He appeared to be looking into the windows of the addresses he passed while on his bike,” the court was told.
“He stopped outside one home, went up to the front window and looked inside.”
McGough then climbed into the home. The police arrived just as he was coming out of an alley gate.
He was carrying a bag which contained a large box model car, an iPad and some DVDs.
It turned out that the householder, a woman, was in at the time.
She knew nothing about what had happened until she was woken by police telling her McGough had been found leaving her home.
The court was told he had 121 previous offences on his record, more than 60 of those for dishonesty.
A community order had been imposed by Blackpool magistrates in June, but he had kept only one out of eight appointments related to that.
Waned Omran-Baber, defending, said the probation service had described McGough as being institutionalised, a career criminal unable to change his habits.
He said: “He accepts full responsibility for his actions. He commits offences because his life has been beset with substance misuse and a need to fund that habit.
“On this occasion he had no money, spotted an easy target and stole things, hoping to sell them to feed his habit.
“He finds being in prison much easier, rather than being in public. He can’t deal with a lack of money and finds easiest way is to return to offending. He knows he is going to prison”.
Judge Robert Altham gave McGough two years prison, with another 14 weeks on top for breaching the community order.
He told him: “You have breached pretty much every order the court has made for you. You have many offences of dishonesty on your record.
“You appear to be completely impervious to any attempts at rehabilitation.”