A career burglar responsible for a swathe of thefts across six counties, including North Wiltshire and South Gloucestershire, has been jailed for almost six years.

Sending Christopher Pike to prison for five years and 10 months, Judge Peter Crabtree said: “You have an awful criminal record, including for dishonesty.”

Swindon Crown Court this morning heard the 37-year-old had admitted four charges of burglary – and asked for a further 49 break-ins to be taken into consideration.

Prosecutor Hannah Squire said Pike had been responsible for a campaign of burglary that began in July last year and continued until February when he stole jewellery from a house in Upper Minety.

His thefts had all been committed during the day, when his victims were out of the house. He searched bedrooms for jewellery, occasionally using a pillowcase as a sack in which to stash his swag.

The court heard he had been photographed by a neighbour leaving one of the burgled houses and getting into a Renault Clio.

Ms Squire said: “These are not random or opportunistic burglaries. There is clearly planning involved.”

The four break-ins with which he was charged were committed in Wiltshire and Hampshire.

On September 10 last year, Pike smashed the window of a house in East Wellow, near Romsey, and stole jewellery that he later admitted selling on for £500. Just hours later he struck again, this time breaking into a house in nearby Awbridge, and taking jewellery from a bedroom. His DNA was found on a screwdriver left at the scene.

Wilts and Gloucestershire Standard:

Christopher Pike Picture: WILTSHIRE POLICE

He was back in Hampshire on December 6. A woman had left her large detached farmhouse to take her son to the station. Pike got into the farmhouse in St Mary Bourne, near Andover, through rear patio doors and took jewellery estimated by the homeowner to be worth up to £4,500.

In Upper Minety, Wiltshire, on February 14 a woman returned home in the early afternoon to find he had prised a key safe off the wall and stolen gold rings, watches and silver, bundling the items into a pillowcase and a Regatta coat.

Interviewed by police at HMP Bullingdon in March, Pike asked for a further 49 burglaries to be taken into consideration. The thefts were committed in Berkshire, Oxfordshire, Wiltshire, Hampshire and Somerset, and included break-ins in Ogbourne St George and Hinton Parva.

Appearing before Swindon Crown Court via video link from HMP Bullingdon, Pike, formerly of Waylands, Devizes, pleaded guilty to four charges of burglary.

Catherine Walker, defending, said her client’s trouble began when he was moved from being supervised by probation officers in Swindon to those in the Chippenham area, where he was known by former associates to whom he owed debts.

Up to that point he had been living trouble-free for around three years, having been released from prison halfway through a six year sentence imposed in 2013 for attempted robbery and burglary.

He fell back into his old drugs habit and returned to stealing as a way of repaying his debts. He was remorseful and had made efforts while in prison on remand to get himself clean.

The officer in the case, Det Sgt Gary Epps, told the court it had been refreshing to find a burglar keen to clear up matters with officers.

Before the hearing ended, Pike said: “I’ve got some more things for Gary to try and clear up, some of the people’s stuff. That’s all I can say.”

The full list of Pike's 'T.I.Cs'

These are the locations and dates of the burglaries Pike asked police to take into consideration. 

Hampshire: Micheldever (December 1), Sparsholt (November 7), Andover (November 26), Basingstoke (January 27), Stockbridge (December 2).

Somerset and South Gloucestershire: Radstock (December 19) and Tormarton (July 29 – August 3).

Wiltshire: Ogbourne St George (July 31 to August 2), Kington St Michael (August 7), Lower North Wraxall (August 14), Hinton Parva (August 21), East Knoyle (August 22), Marlborough (September 10-22), Ludgershall (September 3), West Kington (September 4), Upper Grafton (September 5 – 12), West Kington (September 13), Upper South Wraxall (November 13), Garsdon (January 20), Stapleford (January 28), Alton Barnes (October 27-28), Ogbourne St George (December 20), Ogbourne St George (January 13), Chute Standen (February 1).

Berkshire: Hungerford (July 17), Stockcross (July), Knighton (July 23), Hoe Benham (August 6), Inkpen (August 8), Lambourn (August 9), Inkpen Common (August 13), Lambourn (August 27), Fawley (September 18), Harnstead Marshall (September 19), Chilton (September 20), West Woodhay (October 14 – 16), East Garston (November 18 0 20), Cold Ash (December 6), Kintbury (January 24), Halfway (January 29), Lambourn (February 3).

Oxfordshire: Appleton (August 1-2), Sparsholt (October 10), Letcombe Regis (February 13).