A judge has promised a 33-year-old crook a chance to go straight after he served a number of jail terms over the past 12 years.

Graham Smith, of Bushley Close, had 77 offences of thefts from vehicles on his police record, Worcester Crown Court heard.

And since 1988, his crimes have regularly resulted in the loss of his liberty, said Nigel Stelling, defending.

But Smith, who carried out offences to fund drug and alcohol addictions, had at last put drugs behind him and had the offer of a place in a bail hostel for assessment.

Smith pleaded guilty to two counts of theft and possession of the class A drug methadone.

Judge Michael Mott said he would give him the opportunity of going to the Worcester hostel when a bed becomes available next week. Meanwhile, he was remanded in custody.

He will be freed to live at the hostel when he appears before the court again next Tuesday.

The defendant stole a radio cassette CD player from a man's Ford Sierra car after breaking a window, said Antonie Muller, prosecuting.

When police searched his home on April 25 this year, they found the drug.

Bailed by magistrates, Smith then stole eight packets of razor blades from Tesco.

In January 1997, he was jailed for four years for burglary, handling stolen goods and drug possession.

Mr Muller said he still had 14 months of that sentence to serve after being released early.

Smith had reached a point in his life when for the first time he showed interest in quitting drugs, said Mr Stelling.

He added: "Tests in prison have shown he is clear of drugs and a further custodial sentence would leave him in danger of not being able to survive outside prison."

The bail hostel was the only hope of breaking the vicious cycle of offending.