A PROLIFIC burglar who stole cash, phones, food and bikes from across south Essex has been jailed.

Robert Brindley went of a thieving spree in Wickford, Basildon and Southend from February to June this year.

He admitted 20 counts of burglary, attempted burglary and theft when he appeared at Basildon Crown Court yesterday.

Ben Robinson, prosecuting, shared details of the various offences, saying that on two occasions Brindley had stolen more than £1,000 in cash from properties, including sheltered accommodation where elderly residents lived.

He said: “One elderly victim in Wickford awoke in her bed where she could see the figure of a man hunched over with his back to her, who then left her room.

“When she followed him, she noticed a window had been forced open.

“On another occasion, in St Catherine’s Close, Wickford, a resident went to bed and woke up to realise she had belongings missing.

“This included £1,760 in cash, a purse, two mobile phones and a tablet computer.”

Mr Robinson also detailed a string of attempted burglaries by the 43-year-old, including incidents where he had been spotted by residents trying to climb ladders to access windows.

Of Brindley’s 20 offences, seven took place in Southend and 13 in Basildon and Wickford.

Ian Clift, mitigating, said: “The defendant has shown genuine remorse for his actions.

“He has been through a very traumatic childhood. He has been witness to several cases of severe domestic violence.

“He has been a drug addict for 20 years. He realises his way of life cannot go on.

“He has said ‘I apologise to all my victims, I wish I could take it back’.

“He moved down to Essex to regain a relationship with his seven-year-old son, but was homeless and had no protection and quickly delved into his usual ways. His son is what’s keeping him fighting to change.”

Mr Clift said Brindley had cooperated fully with police to help close all cases he was involved with.

Brindley has 86 crimes on his record since 1993, and has served repeated jail terms.

Judge Ian Graham said Brindley had a “formidable catalogue” of offences, and sentenced him to three years for the home burglaries, two years for the attempted burglaries and six months for non-home burglaries to run concurrently.