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Jimmy Avery, of Woodberry Drive, Murston, jailed for Sittingbourne thefts

A burglar broke into homes at night and stole cars from outside to go joy riding, a court heard.

Jimmy Avery was caught after a police chase when he crashed one of the cars into a house.

The 18-year-old, of Woodberry Drive, Murston, was facing a three-year minimum term in a young offenders’ institute under the “three strikes” law.

Judge Philip St John-Stevens
Judge Philip St John-Stevens

He admitted two offences of burglary, one of theft, taking a vehicle without authority and aggravated vehicle taking.

Avery was given credit for his guilty pleas and sentenced to two years and eight months. He was banned from driving for 12 months.

Maidstone Crown Court heard Colin Hibben looked out of his bedroom window in College Road, Sittingbourne, on September 12 last year and saw his Proton car was halfway across the road.

Iestyn Morgan, prosecuting, said wires were hanging out and the lights were on. The driver’s door was pushed out.

Mr Hibben had owned the car for 20 years and because of its age it was a write-off. He got £600 from his insurance company but had to pay a £200 excess and could not afford to buy a similar car.

An Audi A4 was stolen from outside a house in Allenby Walk on October 22. Avery had broken into the house while the owner was asleep and taken the car keys and a handbag.

He left a footprint on a windowsill. The car was found abandoned the next day behind Avery’s home.

The case was heard at Maidstone Crown Court
The case was heard at Maidstone Crown Court

On November 5 he burgled a house in Canterbury Road. Car keys were taken and a Vauxhall Astra was driven away.

It was picked up on the automatic number plate recognition system in Sussex and police pursued it at speed in wet conditions. Avery lost control and crashed.

“He said he took vehicles for the fun of it in order to joy ride,” said Mr Morgan. “He had no driving licence or insurance.”

Judge Philip St John-Stevens told Avery: “It is not the amount of property taken, it is that people do not feel safe in their homes.”

Avery’s lawyer Tom Dunn told the court: “It is a dark day when somebody of his tender years appears subject to minimum sentence provisions.”

The teenager had an appalling record. He suffered from ADHD and Aspergers syndrome.

“He faces real and significant challenges,” said Mr Dunn. “He went off the rails in a spectacular way after his father died in 2010. He now realises he has just got to stop.”

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