A BURGLAR who used a pickaxe to smash his way into a Worcester home while the owners were still inside has been jailed.

Michael Repton carried out three burglaries in Worcester, all carried out while the homeowners were in, and stole prescription forms from a city doctor's so he could fraudulently obtain medication.

The 33 year-old, of no fixed address, admitted three house burglaries, handling stolen goods, three frauds, possession of a controlled drug of class A (heroin) and possession of a controlled article for use in a fraud.

The most serious burglary, that involving the pickaxe, took place in Newtown Road, Worcester, on May 11.

Rebecca Da Silva, prosecuting, said the occupiers became aware of 'a series of loud bangs' and went downstairs to discover the window to their porch had been smashed, causing £150 to £200 worth of damage, and keys taken.

Officers found a pickaxe and broken glass nearby. Miss Da Silva described this burglary as both 'greater harm' and 'higher culpability' because the occupier was at home and because it was a 'burglary with a pickaxe'.

Repton carried out another Worcester burglary on April 22 between 10.30pm and 1.45am, waking the

occupiers who found drawers had been opened and a £150 mobile phone taken. When the phone's owner used his wife's phone to call his own number a man answered, saying he was 'in the Medway' before hanging up.

A third burglary happened at Mortlake Avenue, Worcester at around 3am on May 15 during which car keys and an Audi A4 were stolen. Keys to a VW Golf and a Lexus taxi were also taken. The Audi was later found at Lambert Road.

Blank prescription forms were taken from the printer at Henwick Halt Medical Centre in Worcester. The forms had been on the printer on March 19 this year but Miss |Da Silva said 'it's not clear when they were stolen'.

Repton used the forms at Tesco in Warndon Villages to successfully obtain a prescription for diazepam and attempted to do the same thing at Superdrug in Worcester High Street and Boots, also in Worcester High Street on May 9.

Repton had eight convictions for 16 previous offences but none for burglary.

Sam Lamsdale, for Repton, said Repton and his girlfriend, Samantha Skipp, had been sleeping in a tent close to the riverside in Worcester at the time.

"They left it one day, came back and it had been vandalised. They had nowhere to sleep. That's the reason they attempted to steal a car so at least they would have some shelter, somewhere in which to sleep" said Miss Lamsdale.

She told the court Repton had been addicted to heroin for 10 years, an addiction which began after he had two discs removed from his back during surgery and became addicted to painkillers.

Despite his addiction he had managed to deal with his addiction without committing numerous acquisitive offences, Miss Lamsdale told the court.

The defendant, who appeared via videolink, showed the judge certificates he had received while in prison after completing courses. He has also been prescribed methadone while in custody to help him stay off heroin.

Judge Robert Juckes QC read a letter from the defendant before sentencing him. He said: "It's a good letter. It's not self-pitying. It sets out the situation perfectly reasonably."

The judge told Repton he had been 'realistic' in his approach and had pleaded guilty at the first opportunity, used his time in custody and had recognised the seriousness of what he had done.

However, he added: "These were very serious dwelling house burglaries because they were at night, the properties were occupied and the occupiers were disturbed. On one particular occasion you were equipped with a pickaxe which is a significant aggravating feature."

Judge Juckes jailed him for three years.