CAR crime has gone down a lot in Cirencester since prolific criminal Craig Russell was arrested, a judge commented today.

Russell, 43, who has made 76 previous court appearances for 189 offences, was appearing at Gloucester crown court for burglary and drugs offences.

He pleaded guilty to having M-Cat with intent to supply, possession of heroin, cannabis, and Subutex, and burgling a Cirencester hair salon.

He also admitted that the offences were committed in breach of a conditional discharge - and that most of them were while he was on bail.

However, defence solicitor Claire Malvern urged the court to consider releasing Russell, of Gibson Court, Watermoor, with a suspended sentence.

She said he had overcome his drug habit and seemed more intent on staying clear of crime than she had ever seen when representing him in the past.

But Judge Jamie Tabor QC said "He has offended so regularly for so long that to pass a suspended sentence would just be putting off the evil day.

"He has a personality which is highly susceptible to drug addiction."

He added "I understand car crime has gone down a lot in Cirencester since he was arrested!"

The judge jailed Russell for a total of 14 months.

Prosecutor Janine Wood said that on 19th Sept last year Russell was stopped by police in London road, Cirencester. He had 16.4 grams of M-Cat on him worth £340 and he was carrying £435 in cash.

Messages on his iPhone showed he had been arranging drug dealing meetings.

Police bailed him and three days later he was arrested again and found to have a small wrap of heroin on him and a wrap of cannabis protruding from his backside.

Bailed again, he was next arrested on 11th December when he was carrying two and a half tablets of heroin substitute Subutex.

Police bailed him once more and on 14th January he broke into Lime Hairdressers in Cirencester, smashing a rear toilet window to get in.

He took the petty cash tin and a box of tips for staff - a total of about £300, said Ms Wood.

Police found a bloody tissue in the salon and his DNA was on it.

Manager Adele Barton had been put to a lot of inconvenience arranging repairs and installing security bars to protect her staff, who she felt were vulnerable, said the prosecutor.

Miss Malvern argued that Russell was now at a point in his life after 14 years of drug abuse where he wanted to get clean and stay out of trouble.

But Judge Tabor told him "Everything has been tried with you and nothing has worked. You are what is termed a prolific offender. I can find no reason to hope that if given a rehabilitative sentence today it would work.

"You have been causing great inconvenience and some anguish and discomfort."