A criminal with a ‘formidable’ record has been jailed for 18 months after he admitted handling stolen goods.
Paul Thomas Barnes, aged 38, claimed he found the items which were stolen during a burglary on Palmers Way, Thurcroft, Rotherham, after seeing two youths flee from police leaving behind a trolley.
Sheffield Crown Court heard police returned to the burglary scene and found Barnes going through the contents of the trolley.
He fled but was arrested three days later.
The property, which was worth £951, included four toy cars worth £600, a television, safe, watches and coats.
It had been stolen from the home of a vulnerable resident who was in respite care when her home was burgled on September 30 last year.
Barnes, of no fixed address, admitted handling stolen goods.
The court heard he had 33 convictions for 100 dishonesty offences.
Judge Robert Moore described him as ‘a serial dishonest offender’.
Ian Goldsack, defending, said: “When he was seen, he was looking through this shopping trolley.
“Essentially the youths had just committed the burglary, left the property and he helped himself to it.
“He saw them run off when a police car went past, went over to investigate what they had left behind and that’s when the police came back.”
He said Barnes had turned to alcohol following the death of his mother.
Jailing him Judge Moore said: “You have a formidable record for dishonesty.”