A ONE-man crime wave, who has clocked up more than 220 offences, is back behind bars yet again after trying to break into a house in Colne.

Joseph Farrelly Phillips, now 44, who announced his ‘retirement’ from crime four years ago, has made a career out of breaking into breaking into cars in Colne, Nelson and Burnley over 14 years.

But he was caught red-handed at night, with a multi-tool in his hand and bolt croppers and two screwdrivers nearby.

Passers-by had seen him acting suspiciously and climbing into a yard on Basil Street, Colne, and had detained him, Burnley Crown Court heard.

Phillips, who has more than 220 offences on his record, had struck five days after he was given a suspended jail term.

The defendant, who has vowed to stop law-breaking several times, has in the past been given an anti-social behaviour order and has battled a long-standing addiction to amphetamine.

Phillips, of West Street, Colne, admitted attempted burglary on April 8 and was jailed for 38 weeks by Judge Beverley Lunt, who said he had to take control of his life as he was wasting it.


The judge, who had locked him up for two years in 2012, for burglary and 17 offences to be considered, imposed 26 weeks for the latest offence and also activated 12 weeks of the suspended term.

The court was told Phillips was seen at 10.45pm and when police arrived, they found damage to a lock on a back door and a plastic box turned upside down to be used as a step. The defendant has been given a drugs programme on April 3, as part of the suspended sentence.

Mark Stuart, defending, said: “My time at the Bar and Mr Phillips' life of crime have totally coincided.

“We keep thinking its going to be the last time I represent him, but it isn't."

Sentencing, Judge Lunt ‘dreadful record’ for burglaries and attempts in the 1980s and early 1990s.

She told him: “Only you can stop all this. Your future is in your own hands.”