A judge tore into suggestions that a professional car thief had helped strip down a £36,000 VW Golf because he was sofa surfing and needed the £400 he was offered for the job.

Akhtar Zamir, 31, who was jailed for 20 months yesterday for his part in the theft, was caught after cutting himself and leaving blood and fingerprints at the scene of the raid on the VW Inchcape dealership in Swindon last November.

His barrister, Iona Nedelcu, suggested that pointed to a lack of professionalism and planning as he hadn’t brought protective gloves. She said her client had been sofa surfing in Swindon at the time and had been offered £400 to join two other men in breaking into the dealership and stripping the limited edition Golf GTI Clubsport.

Judge Jason Taylor QC replied: “Just because you’re professional doesn’t mean you can’t on occasion be stupid.”

Prosecutor Robin Shellard told Swindon Crown Court on Friday afternoon that Inchcape had bought the rare Golf, of which there are just 400 in existence, last year for a little under £29,000. They planned to restore it and sell it for £36,000. The car had been advertised on the company’s website.

On November 1, staff at the dealership spotted a man in the secure compound where the prized hatchback was parked. “It was clear he was acting suspiciously and when he became aware he was being watched by the workmen he made off,” Mr Shellard said.

At 9.15pm the following day, three men used bolt cutters to break into the compound. They smashed a window in the car and quickly disabled the alarm then spent around an hour stripping the vehicle of its parts – many of which were unique to that model.

Two of the men took out parts worth an estimated £21,000, including the seats, door panels, luggage rack, carpets, door trims and central console. The third man ferried the parts away.

Zamir, who in 2014 was jailed for his part in a gang that stripped Audis of £200,000 worth of parts and is currently serving more than five years for conspiracy to handle stolen goods, was caught after DNA from blood left at the scene led police to him. He answered no comment to all questions put to him when he was quizzed by Wiltshire detectives.

Mr Shellard described the West Midlands man as a professional thief. “He’s travelled down from Birmingham. It was a professional hit on Inchcape.”

Zamir, who appeared before the crown court via video link from Featherstone prison, Wolverhampton, admitted theft when he was before the magistrates last month.

Defending, Ms Nedelcu said her client had been homeless at the time having lost his accommodation in October or November last year. He had four daughters, including a baby girl born in January whom he had not yet met.

He had pleaded guilty at the first opportunity and wanted to express his remorse for what he had done, the barrister said.

Jailing Zamir for 20 months, Judge Taylor said: “There is no basis of plea but I have said I do not accept assertions made in mitigation that you were sofa surfing in Swindon and got involved at the last minute for £400 because you were desperate. In my judgement you travelled down from your home region of Birmingham specifically because of the rarity of this car.”

He added of the offence: “It is highly aggravated by your previous convictions because they speak of somebody who in my judgement is either a professional thief or fence or both.”