A SERIAL burglar caught committing two crimes a week after being released from jail is back behind bars.
Conner Smith left his victims devastated after stealing war medals and jewellery that belonged to his victims’ dead relatives.
The 19-year-old – who has previous convictions for burglary – threw a brick through a window at the back of a house in Grange Crescent, Gosport, before ransacking the home while the occupants were out.
When the residents returned at 11pm that evening they discovered that he had also fled with a TV, Wii console and games, a purse and the contents, a handbag, two cameras, an iPod Touch and a jewellery box.
Tammy Mears, prosecuting at Portsmouth Crown Court, said: ‘While items of monetary value were taken, the war medals in themselves had little financial value.
‘However the sentimental value of those was extremely high and those medals have not been recovered. The jewellery taken from the jewellery box – some of that belonged to the householder’s mother who is deceased.’
The break-in on January 14 marked the third time the home had been burgled, the court heard.
Smith, of Mile End Road, Buckland, Portsmouth, was caught the next day after he tried to exchange foreign currency he had stolen in the burglary at Thomson Travel Group in Gosport High Street.
Staff were concerned about the different types of currency he had and declined.
Smith then exchanged the cash at nearby Thomas Cook. Meanwhile Thomson staff alerted police.
Later that day police carried out a stop check and Smith ran off.
He was found hiding behind a phone box and arrested.
On him was silver that had been stolen during a burglary at a property in Bramble Road, Gosport, and a camera believed to have been stolen in the Grange Crescent burglary the previous day.
Smith was jailed for three years after admitting one count of burglary and one of handling stolen goods.
Judge Sarah Munro QC said: ‘Those items, as I hope you now appreciate – if you didn’t before – were of significant financial value, but more importantly they were of irreplaceable sentimental value.’