A prolific offender is back behind bars today after admitting a “plague” of burglaries across Norwich - including three in just 24 hours - just days after being released from a previous custodial sentence.

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Jack Stevens, 19, was sentenced to three years in youth custody after admitting four burglaries and asking for nine other matters to be taken into consideration in what was described as a “prolific campaign of burglary” since his last release.

Three of the burglaries, which happened between June 12 and August 23, took place in the Drayton Road area on one day alone.

Norwich Crown Court heard Stevens had a number of previous convictions for burglary and had once asked for 64 offences to be taken into consideration in relation to a previous offence.

Sentencing Stevens yesterday, Recorder John Hardy described his offending as a “plague”, adding he had an appalling record and that everything had been done in the past to try to get him to give up a life of crime.

He said: “You have carried out a prolific campaign of burglary since your last release from custody. Three of them were committed on August 23 alone.

“The law-abiding and good citizens have to be protected from people doing that which you do by the force of the law. Burglary is invasive and it’s a crime which leaves householders, whether they are robust and relatively young people, or fragile, elderly, vulnerable people, with a sense of invasion and insecurity.”

He added that it was up to Stevens if he wanted to carry on offending and end up spending most of his life in prison.

“Its a matter for you whether you want to spend the majority of your life in prison or you want to try to make something of this world and yourself.”

Stevens, of Riverside Road, Norwich, was caught on August 23 after he was spotted climbing in a window of a flat in Aylsham Road and discarding a bag which was later found to contain items taken in two other nearby break-ins.

Chris Youell, prosecuting, said that when Stevens was arrested he told police: “I’m going back to prison anyway.”

Philip Farr, for Stevens said that he had a difficult background and a disrupted education, and that his drug taking lay behind his offending.

He said: “The burglaries are not professional in his approach.”

Mr Farr added Stevens was an intelligent young man and put his time to good use while on remand and was drug free at the moment.

Speaking after the case, a Norfolk police spokesman said: “Burglary is a crime that can cause great emotional distress to the victims concerned, as well as inconvenience, heartache and a considerable financial impact.

“We would like to reassure residents that we will take robust action against anyone we suspect to be involved in this type of crime. The message to burglars is simple - if we have information that an individual is burgling people’s homes, police will use all powers and tactics available to arrest them.

“We would urge anyone who has information about burglaries to contact us on the 101 number or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111. For crime prevention advice on property security please visit www.norfolk.police.uk.”

Have you got a crime story? Call reporter Peter Walsh or email peter.walsh@archant.co.uk

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