A thief who stole foodbank donations from a church has been jailed after he was caught shoplifting barely a month after a Swindon judge gave him a chance to mend his ways.

Sending Kyle Brace to prison for 44 weeks, Judge Jason Taylor QC told the 26-year-old his latest shoplifting crimes were a brazen act of disrespect to the court.

“You need to understand, Mr Brace, that unless you change your ways you are going to be spending more and more time in prison,” he warned.

In February, Brace was given a 40 week suspended sentence for a burglary spree in his hometown.

Swindon Crown Court heard he tried to sell a candlestick and crucifix stolen from St Aldhelm’s Church, Malmesbury and a candelabra and ceremonial sword taken from the Masonic Hall.

He had gone into the Catholic church on the evening of January 20 through the main door, which had been left unlocked. Items donated to the foodbank had been thrown on the floor or stolen.

The chairman of the pastoral council came to the church the next morning and found it in disarray.

Later that day Brace stole a jacket containing a phone and car keys from the Malmesbury Abbey café.

At 12.30pm a woman returned to her office to find Brace using a pickaxe handle to try and smash his way in

Police later found the young man, who had a Stanley knife blade on him.

On March 29, he was captured on CCTV stealing £90-worth of DVDs from Tesco. On April 9 he took £132-worth of groceries from the Co-operative.

Prosecutor Martyn Booth set out Brace’s lengthy criminal record, including robbery, burglary, vehicle taking and 30 convictions for theft.

Brace, formerly of Athelstan Road, admitted two counts of shoplifting and breaching a suspended sentence.

Lucy Morrel, mitigating, said Brace was released from prison after the last hearing without a place to stay and as a consequence he had not received letters from the probation service.

He had experienced a tough childhood, including allegedly being kidnapped by his father. He had spent time in care as a teenager and had turned to drugs in order to manage his demons.

The barrister argued it would be unjust to activate the suspended sentence.

Judge Taylor disagreed. He said: “On the last occasion you were assessed as a high risk of reoffending. Not withstanding that you were given a remarkable chance which you spurned and you must know that.”

According to a breach report from the probation service, Brace failed to attend even his first appointment.

The judge called the defendant’s shoplifting a “flagrant and brazen act of disrespect to the court”.