Prolific thief left his DNA at the scene

Burnley Magistrates' Court.

Burnley Magistrates' Court.

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A prolific burglar who raided a Padiham vehicle firm was caught after he left his balaclava at the scene, a court heard.

James David Rickwood (36) smashed his way into a storage barn at Millwood Automotive Ltd through a skylight but left empty-handed. He went back to the business later to recover the balaclava, but the owner had already found it.

Burnley magistrates heard how drug addict Rickwood, who works at an engineering firm, has a long record for breaking into commercial premises and has served time behind bars.

He was committed to Burnley Crown Court on bail for sentence on May 9th. Rickwood, of Sycamore Avenue, Burnley, admitted burglary with intent to steal on January 16th.

Prosecutor Mr Andrew Robinson said the firm’s owner had a device linked up to his mobile telephone which alerted him to any activity at the compound and he alerted police.

A glass panel in the ceiling had been smashed and the intruder had got in by stepping on a car underneath it. Nothing was taken, but damage had been caused to a door by a person trying to force their way out. The balaclava was found to contain Rickwood’s DNA.

Miss Catherine Fell, for Rickwood, said: “He had been working, but work dried up over the Christmas period and he was having trouble paying his rent. District Judge Alexandra Simmonds said Rickwood must live at his home address and observe a curfew until sentencing. “You may well go to prison in due course,” she said.