A BURGLAR with a drug habit has been jailed for three raids, including a break-in at a Worcester church and the theft of charity boxes.

Nicholas Dutfield raided Freedom Church in Lowesmoor, Worcester, when he used a tool to break in through the fire doors.

The church burglary happened just over a month after a judge gave him a 'chance' by imposing a community order for two other city burglaries.

The 49-year-old of Droitwich Road, Worcester, admitted burglary at the church on November 23 last year when he appeared at Worcester Crown Court on Monday.

Dutfield broke into the safe which will cost £370 to replace and made off with an iPod Touch worth £159, an iPad worth £289 and £96 in cash.

Thomas Griffiths, prosecuting, said Dutfield was forensically linked to the church burglary.

Dutfield was arrested on December 15 last year and interviewed, refusing to answer any questions or to leave his cell.

The defendant has 37 convictions for 163 offences dating back to 1984.

Of those 163 offences, 124 are matters of dishonesty, the majority of those being non-dwelling burglaries or thefts.

The court heard how Dutfield had been handed a community order on October 21 last year for two burglaries, one at Wotahoot craft shop and the other at the Vision Factory in Worcester.

Dutfield accepted he had failed without reasonable excuse to comply with the requirements of that community order after he did not report to probation as instructed or provide evidence to cover his absence within five working days.

He admitted a break-in at Wotahoot craft shop on August 27 last year when he was challenged by the owner but ran away from the premises. In total £40 of employee tips were stolen.

"The defendant left blood on the window of the property and that was forensically linked to the defendant" said Mr Griffiths.

Dutfield admitted a further burglary at the Vision Factory opticians in Worcester on September 12 last year during which cameras were 'pulled off walls and left on the floor'.

Dutfield stole charity boxes, a MacBook Pro, an iPad and Ray-Ban sunglasses worth £2,520.

He also caused £100 of damage. When interviewed about the burglary Dutfield again answered no comment to questions.

Mr Griffiths said Dutfield had failed to attend unpaid work appointments on numerous occasions and 'continues to reoffend'. Dutfield had only completed 36 hours of the 150 he was supposed to complete since October last year when the community order was imposed.

Lee Egan, defending, said there was no soiling, ransacking or vandalism during any of the burglaries.

"Having viewed his antecedent history, your Honour won't be surprised to learn he has a serious drug problem. His life has been blighted by that addiction and he's frankly worn down by it" said Mr Egan.

Mr Egan described his client as a father-of-three and grandfather-of-two.

He told the court what Dutfield would most like would be to get a job and be able to remain free of his addiction.

He accepted that the burglary of a church was 'clearly distasteful' which would have an obvious impact on the community. However, he asked that Dutfield be given full credit for his early guilty pleas.

Recorder Richard Atkins QC told Dutfield: "You have a terrible record."

Speaking of the community order, imposed last October, he said: "I have no doubt that the judge, in passing sentence, gave you credit and gave you a chance."

He told Dutfield must have used some kind of implement to break into the church just over a month after the community order was imposed.

The judge also said he considered it an an aggravating feature that he had burgled a church during the course of a community sentence imposed, moving the burglary into category one (the most serious within the guidelines).

Recorder Atkins sentenced Dutfield to two years and two months in prison.

The defendant was said to be in no financial position to pay compensation.