A BRAZEN crook armed with a crowbar broke into three firms to steal nearly £15,000 worth of goods.

Phillip Young pleaded with Judge John Lodge to spare him jail for his spree of burglaries of various Basildon businesses between December 2019 and March this year, but was ultimately jailed for two years due to his prolific offending.

The 31-year-old, of no fixed address, targeted the WH Smith store in Town Square, Basildon, on December 2019.

One of the managers was alerted to the break in which took place at 10.30pm.

When CCTV was reviewed, it found Young armed with a crowbar smashing one of the front windows of the store, before conducting a messy search of the store, upturning filing cabinets and searching through cupboards, but ultimately didn’t take anything and left.

However, he left a drop of blood on one filing cabinet, which led police to him.

Young next broke into two businesses at the Southfields Business Park in Basildon on March 6 and 7 this year, car centre Chips Away and equipment manufacturer Fermax.

Young used a crowbar once again to burgle both of these businesses taking cash and items, including a number of laptops.

In the second case, he had been smoking a cigarette before putting it out, where he left his DNA, and was caught on CCTV.

Young was estimated to have stolen around £14,000 worth of cash and items from the firms in total, with them having to pay staff overtime to get the businesses back on track.

Young admitted two counts of burglary and one of burglary with intent to steal and appeared via video link at court yesterday.

Mitigating, Cyrus Shroff told the court Young was addicted to drugs and had been committing the crimes to fund his habit.

In a statement read to the court, Young said: “I truly do no longer want this way of life and I have attended a victim awareness course, and I am awaiting a substance misuse programme.

“I realise I am at the mercy of the courts, if I am given one last chance in the community I would do that with a GPS tag.

“I am at the mercy of the courts.”

Judge John Lodge chose to send Young straight to jail, however.

He said: “In light of your antecedent history and the circumstances of the offences, a custodial sentence is appropriate.

“You broke into commercial premises causing substantial amounts of damage.

“I am not persuaded that it’s possible - due to the circumstances of the offences and your history - for it to be suspended.”

Young received a total of 24 months in prison for all three crimes.

This was reduced as Young had admitted all the charges at the first opportunity.