A THIEF with an “appalling” track record has been sent to jail once more.

Thomas Joseph O’Leary, 45, of Ilsley Road, Popley, appeared at Winchester Crown Court on Thursday last week after pleading guilty to two counts of possession of a bladed object, one count of theft from a shop and one count of attempted burglary.

The court heard that on September 5 this year, O’Leary stole two packs of beer and two pizzas from a Tesco Express store, in Oakridge Road. He picked up the items and just walked out the front door.

When pursued by the store manager, O’Leary began to run off, before producing a knife and bringing it towards his face, which led the manager to feel threatened.

The court heard that the next day, O’Leary was seen “acting suspiciously” around properties in Anglesey Close, Popley.

Prosecuting, Dawn Hyland, said: “A witness became aware that someone was outside his property when his motion sensor doorbell triggered.

“Being able to view the security footage live from his phone, he saw that his garden gate was open and then he saw Mr O’Leary around his front door.

“The defendant then proceeded to put on gloves and attempted to open the front door.”

The court heard another man saw the 45-year-old looking through windows of houses and the car of the witness’s father-in-law. The man approached O’Leary to ask what he was doing and then restrained him until police arrived, when a knife was found on his possession.

The court heard that O’Leary is no stranger to the justice system, being convicted 30 times for 84 offences, most of which were burglaries.

Defending O’Leary, Elizabeth Cox, said: “He has long standing issues with drug and alcohol abuse. He wants to live a non-offending life.

“He has shown remorse for his stupid behaviour and is seeking the help that he needs.”

In sentencing Judge Jane Miller QC said: “Your list of previous convictions is appalling, and I have to take that into account when dealing with you.”

“I am glad to hear that you are determined to change your life around. You have clearly been living with an addiction to class A drugs and alcohol and for me to give you a suspended sentence I would be setting you up to fail.” O’Leary was sentenced to 12 months for the attempted burglary, and four months for the second possession of a knife charge, to run concurrently.

He was sentenced to a further six months to run consecutively for the first possession of a blade charge, and three months for the theft from a store to run concurrently, a total of 18 months behind bars.