A young man broke into cars because he was bored and ended up addicted to the experience.
Jake Russell got an adrenalin rush and his compulsive behaviour was heightened by factors like carrying out his crime on a gravel drive, which would cause a noise, or people being at home.
Preston Crown Court was told that the offences occurred while he was on a suspended youth custody sentence – and that he needed help for his obsessional thinking and other difficulties.
The 20-year-old, of Maplewood Avenue, Preesall, had been committed by magistrates to crown court for sentence for a theft, with 14 similar offences taken into consideration.
He had also admitted stealing lager from a shop at Preesall.
Harry Pepper, prosecuting, said the defendant was given 20 months’ youth custody last November, suspended for two years, for his part in a burglary.
Then in May this year Russell stole a sat nav from a police van left on Rosslyn Avenue, Preesall. The system was worth £600 and ended up hidden under a nearby hedge.
He was recognised from CCTV and arrested.
The court heard the thefts from vehicles had occurred in the same area, around the same time.
He made full admissions in interview, saying he had done the theft because he was bored and stole for something to do.
Mr Pepper told the court that Russell helped police recover a large amount of the stolen property.
He was on crown court bail when he carried out the second theft.
He took a pack of Stella Artois from a One Stop shop and was was drunk and abusive to police.
Sarah Griffin, defending, said Russell had autism but did not use his condition as an excuse for his offending.
She said: “He desperately needs help that he hasn’t been able to access. He has anxiety, depression, with mood swings and has a tendency to obsessional thinking and behaviour.
“He regrets his actions and says he did it mainly for something to do because he was bored and also for the thrill.”
The court also heard that Russell stole the cans of lager because he wanted one last night out before going to court.
Judge Jacqueline Beech told him: “You patrolled areas in the middle of the night, looking for vehicles that had been left unlocked. You had started to do this because you were bored.
“You experienced an adrenalin rush which you became addicted to. You left the property nearby or put it into a bag and took it home.
“In some instances you tried to sell property on eBay.”
The judge added it was clear the defendant had been unable to access support and treatment that he needed. She gave him a two-year community order, with supervision.