BURGLAR Bradley Kiernan was caught after his DNA was found on a knife he had left in the bedroom of a house from where he had stolen valuable Indian jewellery.
But a jury at Warwick Crown Court accepted that he had the knife as a tool to help him break in – and not as a weapon in case he was confronted by the householder.
Kiernan, who had pleaded guilty to the burglary of the house in The Avenue, Coventry, was cleared of a more serious charge of aggravated burglary, which he had denied.
Kiernan (43) of Narbeth Way, Walsgrave, Coventry, who had earlier admitted a charge of aggravated vehicle taking, was jailed for a total of three years and ten months.
Prosecutor Ian Windridge said that in January Kiernan had broken into the house in The Avenue by using the knife to remove beading from a window.
Once inside he stole a quantity of valuable Indian jewellery and a passport which was of sentimental value because it had belonged to the householder’s late father.
But while searching the house, Kiernan had left the knife in one of the bedrooms, and after it was recovered his DNA was found on it.
At the time Kiernan, who had a large number of previous convictions for dishonesty, including burglaries, was on bail for an offence of dangerous driving, pointed out Mr Windridge.
That had taken place as long ago as April 2016 when an ANPR camera in Bedworth picked up a Ford Focus that had been taken following a car key burglary at a house in Rowan Road, Coventry, a few days earlier.
Kiernan, who had not been involved in the burglary, was seen driving the car towards Wolvey before heading back towards Coventry along the A4600 Hinckley Road.
The police were preparing to set up a stinger device, but on seeing the Focus, officers began to follow it as Kiernan sped along Wigston Road and Ringwood Highway, going over speed bumps at high speed.
Kiernan, who at one stage drove across a pavement and along a grassed area to get past other traffic, headed through residential streets and into Woodway Lane.
He then turned onto a housing estate and ended up in a cul-de-sac where he drove across a grassed area, aiming for an alleyway.
But it was too narrow to get through and the car collided with a wall on one side of it, and Kiernan, who had a passenger in the car, was arrested, added Mr Windridge.
Simon Rippon, defending, conceded: “His record is appalling. Plainly the majority of the credit he will receive will be from his pleas. He indicated a guilty plea to the burglary at the earliest stage.”
Kiernan was jailed for 40 months for the burglary, with a consecutive six-month sentence for aggravated vehicle taking, and was banned from driving for three years and 11 months.
Judge Peter Cooke told him: “This was a shocking piece of driving. You are not implicated in the burglary, but two days later you were at the wheel, speeding over speed bumps, and the car was fishtailing.
“You went through a red light, and another driver was put in danger, over a kerb and onto the grass, through another red light and weaving through a housing estate and then off-road again.
“You had a passenger who, apart from the police officers and anyone else who got in your way, was put at risk by your idiotic driving.
“And the burglary, with your record, takes on a greater significance. You are a habitual thief, and you break into other people’s premises and vehicles.”