A BURGLAR who broke into a school twice has thanked police for saving his life by catching him.
Mark Wozencroft stole hundreds of pounds of electronic devices from Park Community School in Havant and targeted Costa Coffee in the town once.
At his sentencing hearing his defence barrister told the court Wozencroft was addicted to legal highs and was thankful he had been caught.
Sam Barker, defending, said: ‘He has identified the causes of his offending. When I asked him about them he said he’s very glad he was caught because he thinks had he not been, he would be dead because he was using legal highs, which though they were legal, were extremely dangerous, particularly to people’s mental health.’
Wozencroft had been recommended for drug treatment programmes before but was told they were not appropriate for legal highs use.
Portsmouth Crown Court heard Wozencroft was seen on CCTV both times he raided the school after hours.
The 38-year-old stole a Lenovo laptop worth £400 in the first burglary and an iPad 2 with an external hard drive worth £500 the second time.
He also raided Costa Coffee, which was discovered by staff looking at CCTV footage.
Wozencroft broke into the coffee shop, got into the staff room and took two laptops, a phone and two purses – before hiding them in the roof space in the men’s toilets.
Stunned staff tried to detain him as he was still in the toilets but he ran away.
Recorder Michael Norman has jailed him for 25 months after Wozencroft pleaded guilty to three burglaries and admitted breaching previous suspended sentences.
The court Wozencroft, of Fletchers Field, Liphook, was caught when he was seen acting suspiciously by police at Liss station on April 22.
Martyn Booth, prosecuting, said: ‘They spotted this defendant acting in what they perceived to be a suspicious fashion. They decided to stop him and search him and in a bag he had on him there were a number of implements they initially thought were suspicious – wire-cutters, tools, that sort of thing.
‘When they detained him it became clear to the officers that this defendant was also wanted in relation to other matters so he was arrested.’
Wozencroft admitted burgling the school on January 13 and March 30, and the coffee shop on March 17.
The court heard Wozencroft has an ‘appalling’ record of 26 previous convictions for 73 offences.