Prolific burglar jailed for string of break-ins around village near Northampton over 'chaotic' four days
Howard literally caught red-handed while trying to steal from doctor's surgery having previously targeted pub and butchers
A prolific burglar was jailed for a string of break-ins at properties around a village near Northampton yesterday (Thursday, May 6).
Mark Howard was sentenced to 42 weeks in prison at Northampton Crown Court for the burglaries at a doctors' surgery, pub and butchers in Brixworth over four days in January.
The 42-year-old, of Kennel Terrace, Brixworth, had previously pleaded guilty to the incidents at Saxon Spires Practice, The George Inn and Chambers Butchers.
His offences put him in breach of a 12-week sentence in August last year that was suspended for 12 months over another robbery.
Howard's defence barrister told Her Honour Judge Rebecca Crane he remembers very little of the 'fairly chaotic weekend' as he was overmedicating for his mental health issues with alcohol and drugs.
"He knows this is no real excuse for the offences in his mind. He says he is where he deserves to be at the moment and knows there must be a custodial sentence," the lawyer said.
Eunice Opare-Addo, prosecuting, told the court Howard was spotted breaking into the Northampton Road butchers by smashing the back window at around 5pm on January 17.
The next day he twice broke into the pub on the same road, again by breaking a window, stealing a random list of items including a bottle of gin, tips, masks for charity, a light bulb, a coat and a pair of sunglasses.
Having first broken in at around 7.30pm, Howard returned at just past 11pm but was seen by the pub owner who chased him but was stopped by his wife, the court heard.
Two days after that, cleaners at the Northampton Road surgery heard banging from the dispensary room at around 6.45pm and locked themselves in the toilets until police arrived.
Howard was arrested and officers literally caught him red-handed as his fist was covered in blood after he punched a window to gain entry - although they first thought he was wearing red gloves.
Ms Opare-Addo said he has 25 previous convictions for 49 offences, including shop thefts and other dishonesty crimes.
Judge Crane sentenced him to 10 weeks in jail for each of the three burglaries and 12 weeks for breaching the suspended sentence, to be served consecutively.