A clueless burglar who was caught red-handed trying to break into a Northampton house he had already looted has been spared prison.
Darren Kimpton had already stolen £85 from the house in Lea Road, Abington, when he returned for a second burglary attempt.
But two police officers were inside speaking to the victim of his first crime, and he was quickly apprehended.
Northampton Crown Court heard on Monday that Kimpton, who has 36 previous convictions for burglary, could do a prison sentence “standing on his head”.
The heroin addict was instead given a strict community order.
Kimpton, aged 49, had already tried and failed to break into another house in Monks Park Road, Abington, on the night of December 22 last year.
He succeeded only in cutting himself and leaving his DNA at the scene.
When he first appeared at Northampton Magistrates Court last month, his offending was described as “clumsy” and “pathetic”.
At Monday’s hearing, the court was told Kimpton denied wanting to steal anything when he tried to let himself into the house.
Alexandra Bull, prosecuting, said: “He told police he used to be ‘into burglary’, and was interested to see what was inside.”
Recommending a community order, James McLernon, mitigating, said: “He could do a short custodial sentence standing on his head.”
Sentencing Kimpton, Judge Rupert Mayo said: “You virtually fell into the hands of the police officer. You are not a very good burglar.
“Were there any sense of professionalism, I would not be giving you the chance I am giving you.”
Kimpton, of Severn Drive, Kings Heath, Northampton, was given a 24-month community order and must work with the Rose Project for 60 days. The project works with prolific offenders who have substance abuse problems.
He was also given a four-month curfew and ordered to carry out 80 hours of unpaid work.