A man was caught red-handed stripping copper out of an empty house after neighbours raised the alarm.
Blackburn magistrates heard police arrested David Martin Ainsworth, 31, inside the house on Hood Street in the process of lifting floor boards.
Ainsworth, of Fountain Place, Accrington, pleaded guilty to burglary with intent to steal. He was sentenced to 26 weeks in prison suspended for 15 months, made subject to community supervision for 15 months, ordered to do 200 hours unpaid work and pay £250 compensation.
Gareth Price, defending, said: “Others had been in before him but he was caught red-handed.”