A DRUG-ADDLED burglar who raided houses in a spree of offending has been jailed for three years and four months.

Joe Deacon stole items of great sentimental value including jewellery which had belonged to a pensioner’s daughter who died two years ago.

And the 31-year-old left another victim hiding terrified in his room, as he had been assaulted in a violent break-in in the past, while he searched the house.

Claire Marlow, prosecuting, told Swindon Crown Court on Tuesday how the first raid took place on Eastcott Hill when the householder went on holiday in August.

On her return the 68-year-old found a window at the rear of the lounge had been smashed and her TV and hi-fi taken.

When she went upstairs she found her bedroom had also been searched and a large quantity of jewellery, much belonging to her late daughter, was missing.

The second raid took place on Albion Street at about 6am on August 19 at a house where a pair of Portuguese brothers live with their girlfriends.

One couple had left for work when, a quarter of an hour later, the others heard someone in the house.

Because he had been victim of a violent burglary in his homeland the man locked himself in to his room and phoned his brother.

Not knowing how to alert the police the sibling returned home and spotted a car leaving and though he got the registration slightly wrong, the police later traced it to someone who lived with Deacon.

Inside the house they found two laptop computers were missing along with a pink and purple towel with cartoon character Tweetie Pie on it.

A couple of days later a house on Dixon Street was broken into, and electrical items and jewellery were taken.

When the police searched Deacon’s home they found the distinctive stolen towel along with some of the items taken in the other raids.

Deacon, of Eastcott Road, pleaded guilty to three counts of burglary and asked for six more to be taken into consideration.

He also admitted possessing a prohibited weapon after a pistol used for firing tear gas was found in the street with his DNA on it.

Rob Ross, defending, said the weapon had been bought at a car boot sale as an ornament and was not capable of use until the police armourer lubricated it with grease.

It had been reported missing months earlier when he was the victim of a burglary, so Deacon knew what his victims had gone through.

He said his client had a history of drug abuse but managed to get clean and live a normal family life with his wife and children and had been holding down a job for three years. But he said he then lost his job, through no fault of his own, and his wife left him saying she no longer loved him.

“He reverted to self medication and started to use drugs again and drink. He was, at the point when these offences took place, snowballing cocaine and heroin,” Mr Ross said.

He said he also had mental health issues and had suffered from post traumatic stress disorder as a result of his upbringing.

Jailing him Judge Euan Ambrose said “This was a course of offending, it may be said to be a spree of offending, and it must be sentenced as such.”