A homeowner asked the burglar she caught lighting up a cigarette in her back garden “who the f*** are you?”, Swindon Crown Court heard.

Repeat offender Jimmy Lowe, who was jailed for three-and-a-half years in 2018 for smashing his way into a corner shop, admitted his latest house burglary when he appeared before the crown court last Friday.

But Judge Peter Crabtree told the 25-year-old he wasn’t prepared to sentence him until detectives had asked the man’s victims if they wanted to make a statement detailing what impact the break-in had had on them.

He remanded Lowe in custody until Friday, October 2, when he will be sentenced.

Prosecutor Christopher Wing had earlier told the court Lowe had broken into a house in Ashbury Avenue, Nythe, on July 28 this year.

A woman living at the property had been woken by a creaking floorboard. She called 999 and shouted to her mother that she thought there was someone in the house.

Her mum went downstairs and saw a man trying to get out of the back gate. She grabbed hold of a man bag he was carrying and asked him: “Who the f*** are you?” Lowe’s bag strap snapped and he was able to get away.

The homeowner later spotted a zombie knife that had been left on top of a bin. DNA analysis of the knife linked it to Lowe and he was arrested in August.

The only items taken from the house were a packet of cigarettes and a lighter, Mr Wing said.

Despite his young age, Lowe had 46 convictions for 88 offences on his record.

He committed his first house burglary when he was around 15, with the youth court giving him a six month detention and training order.

In 2018, he was jailed for three-and-a-half years for burglary and other offences. He was part of a gang that smashed its way into the Spar in Chiseldon while a terrified staff member hid in a cupboard. He car jacked an acquaintance’s vehicle while he was on bail for the burglary.

And in February this year he was sentenced to nine months’ imprisonment for selling cannabis and possession of a zombie knife. He was currently in Bullingdon prison having been recalled on licence by the probation service.

Defending, Rob Ross told the crown court on Friday that his client could remember little of what happened on the night of July 28. He had earlier argued with his partner and was drunk.

He had not gone out that evening to break-into the house; a claim supported by the fact he had only taken cigarettes and a lighter. He had even lit one of the cigarettes before making good his escape. The knife found at the property was not his; he had found it that night.

“He is quite adamant that it wasn’t in any way targeted. It was simply opportunistic,” Mr Ross said. He had left the property as soon as he realised there was someone inside.

The lawyer told Judge Crabtree that Lowe was now clean of drugs and was looking a lot better than he had in the past. He was extremely angry with himself for getting in trouble again.