A KIDDERMINSTER burglar who stole more than £10,000 by targeting the homes of people he knew has been jailed for four years.

In one raid, Brett Cope put a ladder up against a back wall after waiting for the householder to leave and stole a safe containing £10,000 in cash from the bedroom, Worcester Crown Court heard.

In another, he broke in overnight while a young family were upstairs asleep and stole electrical items, Gareth Walters, prosecuting, told the court.

They woke up on the morning of May 8 this year to find their home in Jubilee Drive, Kidderminster, had been burgled and an iPad, mobile phone and other items to the value of £1,500 taken, along with a gold cross and chain of great sentimental value.

On May 9, the 32-year-old struck at a house in Bredon Avenue, Kidderminster, in the morning and stole the safe, along with car keys. He was found asleep in a van he had become the registered keeper of the day after the raids, Mr Walters said, and some of the stolen items were with him.

Cope, of Wordsworth Crescent, Kidderminster, helped police to recover the cross and chain and return it to its owner. He pleaded guilty to two burglaries and also asked for a raid on a former workplace to be taken into consideration.

Adam Western, defending, handed in a letter from Cope, expressing remorse for stealing from homes of people he knew. He wanted to clear everything up so he could start again on his release, Mr Western said.

He told the court there were a lot of burglaries on Cope's record but none of them carried out in a professional way and mostly due to his addiction to cocaine and heroin, which he was now tackling.

Judge Robert Juckes QC said he was prepared to believe Cope, a three-strikes burglar and, subject to the mandatory three years, intended to start afresh on his release.