Burglar jailed after carrying out raids across the UK including in South Shields, Northumberland and County Durham
A career burglar who has carried out raids across the UK is back behind bars for targeting businesses already suffering during the pandemic.
Martin Brown had 61 burglary convictions on his record when he targeted restaurants and takeaways in the North East of England during a crime spree last summer.
Newcastle Crown Court heard the 57-year-old raided seven businesses in South Shields, Wallsend, Cramlington, Whitley Bay and Chester-le-Street and stole mostly cash and alcohol, while causing damage to get what he wanted.
Prosecutor Glenn Gatland told the court: "He has 61 offences of burglary on his record, travelling as far as Lincoln, Preston, York, Carlisle, Edinburgh, Dundee and other places in between."
Mr Gatland said Brown was out on licence from a previous jail term for burglaries when he committed the latest raids and added: "They were committed during a Covid pandemic, when small businesses such as these targeted were themselves suffering financially."
The court heard the targeted restaurants include Shahenshah in South Shields, South Tyneside, Sopranos in Wallsend, North Tyneside, as well as the Donpapa Pizza and Red Lion Chinese eateries in Chester-le-Street.
Brown, of Wallington Grove, South Shields, admitted seven charges of burglary.
Judge Stephen Earl said Brown is a "career burglar" who has offended "up and down the country, all over the place" and sentenced him to three-and-a-half years behind bars.
The judge said: "There comes a point when the court has to impose what can only be described as a deterrent sentence.
"Clearly a lot of sentences he has already had have not acted as a deterrent.
"He continues to offend the minute he is out again.
"During a pandemic businesses are already suffering and the last thing they need is a career burglar to target them as he did in relation to this offending, while on licence for like offending."
Judge Earl told Brown: "You are a career criminal who travelled the length and breadth of the region over a short period of time targeting businesses who could ill afford it.
"You are 57, it is time for you to realise that the twilight years of your life are going to end up in custody if you don't do something, urgently, about it."