A judge said he had “a duty to inflict punishment” after a burglar was caught.
Jordan Lee raided a Blackpool family’s home in the middle of the night and was later caught in possession of some of the stolen haul.
Before his arrest, Preston Crown Court heard police had come across Lee, of Albert Road, Blackpool, outside a pawnbrokers.
He had a receipt for the store on him but officers were unable to link him to the crime at that stage.
Prosecutors said evidence was later recovered when officers searched Lee’s home just weeks later and found a portable hard drive that had been stolen from the raided home on Rudyard Place, Grange Park.
Lee, 21, was jailed for 14 months and 10 days after pleading guilty to burglary and also breaching the conditions of his bail.
Hanifa Patel, prosecuting, said a couple and two young children lived at the address at the time of the burglary early last September.
The owner had gone to hospital one night and returned at 2.30am the following day.
It was then discovered that an X-Box games console and several controllers had gone.
A portable hard drive, containing work documents and photographs, was also missing, along with a mountain bike taken from the back garden.
Police were called and the burglary reported. A forensic examination could not detect any fingerprints.
The following day an officer came across Lee outside a pawnbrokers. He had a receipt from the store, but there was nothing at that stage to link him to the burglary.
On September 15 police had reason to go to Lee’s address and carry out a search.
The hard drive was recovered and the victim identified it as belonging to him.
Lee told police that another man had also been involved in the burglary, as well as him.
John Woodward, defending, told the court: “He knows it’s a very serious offence. He has prepared himself for a custodial sentence.
“I submit it’s worth the court taking a chance with him. There is some merit in allowing him perhaps one last opportunity to show his mettle”.
In the past Lee had fallen in with the wrong crowd, drifted and abused drugs, the court was told.
Since the offence he had got a job at a Blackpool hotel where he worked for his board.
“There has been a sea change in his attitude and in him as a person,” added Mr Woodward.
Judge Ian Leeming said: “I have a duty to inflict punishment in order to protect the public.”