Published: 00:00, 24 February 2005
| Updated: 11:08, 24 February 2005
A PERSISTENT burglar has been jailed for three years after a judge at Maidstone Crown Court told him: "You are an absolute menace to ordinary householders."
Stuart Olson had already served three years youth custody and was still on licence when he broke into more homes in Ashford - including a neighbour's.
The 22-year-old alcoholic admitted two burglaries and asked for 19 others to be taken into consideration. He also admitted handling stolen goods.
The court heard that Olson terrified one householder by throwing a concrete block through a patio window in Northumberland Avenue in the early hours before breaking in.
Alistair Keith, prosecuting, said the owner was awoken by the sound of smashing glass on October 24 last year. He got up and was aware of an intruder. He shouted and Olson made off.
The next day there was a burglary at a home in Bybrook Road, Kennington, where Olson lives, and a gold chain and cross worth £600, along with electrical items, were taken.
When Olson was arrested for the first burglary, officers noticed he was wearing the chain. He claimed it was given to him by his grandmother.
Mr Keith said Olson was taken to court the next day and then dropped off at his house by police. The Bybrook road break-in then came to their attention.
By that time, Olson had pawned the chain for £30 at a shop in Elwick Road. It was recovered and returned to the owner.
Mr Keith said Olson burgled his neighbour's home on November 17, snatching a handbag from behind the door. The householders spoke to Olson's father and the bag was recovered.
Olson eventually owned up to what he had done and admitted 19 other burglaries that might not otherwise have been solved. The total value of items stolen was £1,538.
Mr Keith said Olson was sentenced to 12 months youth custody in July 2001 and three years in September 2002.
Maria Karaiskos, defending, said before Olson was remanded in custody he would wake up and drink a can of beer for breakfast. He would drink more on the way to college, where he was attending a course in reading and writing.
He drank about nine cans of beer during the day. His parents banned him from taking alcohol home, so he drank it outside.
Miss Karaiskos said his parents reduced his pocket money but that did not solve the problem because he turned to crime. He committed burglaries to get drink.
"He is not a sophisticated offender, although he is a prolific offender," she said. "He didn't think about the consequences of his actions. He has an appalling record and has become institutionalised.
"He served a lengthy sentence, which did nothing to assist him. There was no rehabilitation. It is almost like a vicious circle. He is imprisoned and then goes back to his old ways."
Miss Karaiskos submitted that sending Olson to jail would be a deterrent. A community sentence, she said, could be combined with a curfew.
Miss Recorder Janet Waddicor told Olson that the early hours burglary was particularly disturbing. "The owner was inside and it is not difficult to imagine how frightened he must have been when he heard glass breaking," she said.
Burgling a neighbour was a particularly despicable crime. "One of the objectives of sentencing is to serve a deterrent on the individual," said Recorder Waddicor. "It may not be that a custodial sentence or community sentence will deter you.
"I have to bear in mind the general public. These offences are so serious that they require a custodial sentence."