'Professional burglar' Stephen Ford hid haul in Lincoln garden shed
A burglar who broke into a bungalow while the tenant was preparing to move in has been jailed for three years at Lincoln Crown Court.
Stephen Ford spotted that the home in Boultham Park Road, Lincoln, was empty while cycling around the area.
Stephen Lowne, prosecuting, said that Ford stole a number of items including a television, a stereo and wall paintings, stashing some of the items in the garden shed.
Ford was linked to the burglary after his fingerprints were found on one of the paintings recovered from the shed.
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Mr Lowne said that no one was living at the bungalow at the time as the new tenant was decorating the property before moving in.
Ford, 29, of St Rumbold Street, Lincoln, admitted burglary on June 17 this year.
The court was told he had convictions for seven previous house burglaries and eight commercial burglaries.
Michael Cranmer-Brown, defending, said Ford had a bad heroin addiction in the past but had taken steps to stabilise his life since 2011 when he was released from his last prison.
"This offence happened after he had the misfortune to have his benefits stopped. He had missed an appointment.
"He had no means of getting any money."
Mr Cranmer-Brown said Ford has shown over the last 18 months that he could stay out of trouble and urged that he be given a chance.
But Judge Sean Morris, passing sentence, said: "This man is a professional burglar. The public would be outraged if I didn't lock him up."