Published: 13:30, 24 January 2020
| Updated: 20:26, 24 January 2020
A career burglar who has broken into 67 homes has been jailed again.
Richard Line, 53, crow-barred his way into a Minster, home before fleeing with jewels worth £1,000 and a computer.
Line was released from prison about a month before ransacking the home in Tothill Street, after serving half a seven-year sentence for burglary.
“In my calculation you have some 66 convictions for burglary,” Judge Simon James told the crook.
“In the last 20 years alone you have received prison sentences totalling 23 years, all for dwelling house burglary.”
He continued: “You again fall to be sentenced for burglary, in which you broke into a person’s home conducting a messy search taking jewels and a computer.
“It is clear from the crowbar that you again came equipped for burglary.”
Appearing via video-link from HMP Elmley, Line sat with his arms folded and spoke only to confirm his name and asked the judge if he could leave after being sentenced.
Jailing Line for five years and three months for the burglary, the judge added: “People literally lay awake at night worrying about being burgled.
“I consider the need to protect people and their homes, meaning I will impose a significant sentence outside the guidelines.”
The court heard Line was discovered at Minster Railway Station shortly after the incident and most of the stolen goods were recovered as he had discarded some close by.
He was also caught with stolen jewellery hidden in his glove.
Line’s victim told the court she no longer feels safe inside her home: “How dare someone invade my home and take that away from me,” she said.
Mitigating, Simon Burke told the court drug addiction triggered his client’s chequered past, but argued he became clean in prison.
“He had been homeless and he committed the burglary to get money to live.
“Over the years he has become somewhat institutionalised and had problems processing claim forms for benefits.” he said.
The court heard Line committed the offence on November 27 after being released from prison on October 17 - and still had three years on license.
After sentencing, PC Mike Kingwell said: "We think Line had seen officers patrolling the village and had scattered the stolen goods so he wasn’t found with anything incriminating.
"However, they merely acted like a trail of breadcrumbs to help link him to the burgled property and he was arrested within about an hour of carrying out the burglary.
"Being a victim of burglary can be an anxious time, so we are pleased we were able to reunite the stolen goods to the victims so quickly."
More by this authorSean Axtell