A THIEF with an 'appalling' record of 235 convictions has been jailed after stealing laptops from Haslingden High School.

Peter Everall, 38, a gambling addict, also raided a bandit machine at Clayton-le-Moors Conservative Club and had burgled Crewe Workingmen's Club when he went to visit his mother, Burnley Crown Court heard.

He had been locked up for 32 weeks by magistrates and tried to get the term cut or win his freedom, on appeal.

But, a judge, sitting with two justices, threw out his bid. Everall, of Hudrake, Haslinden, had earlier admitted three burglaries.

The court had been told Everall had sneaked into the Conservative club and smashed the fruit machine with a fire extinguisher, last November.

Kathryn Johnson, for the Crown, said his fingerprints were found on the cash box of the machine and also a door handle leading to an upstairs room.

Everall was arrested nine days later and made no comment. He then requested a second interview and told police he had been drunk and had spent £90 on the bandit. Everall claimed he had waited for staff to leave then went back in to the club. The total loss to the club in damage and theft from the machine was £640.

Miss Johnson said on January 16, the defendant took two Apple Mac laptops from a classroom next to a fire exit, at Haslingden High School.

CCTV footage showed a man acting suspiciously and leaving via the fire exit. A police officer viewed the footage, recognised Everall and he was arrested.

Everall was interviewed by the police and claimed he had been at the school because he had been inquiring about cleaning work.

He said he had been looking for staff, but denied responsibility for stealing the computers.

The hearing was told Everall said he had made efforts to find work and had referred himself to the Tower Project and Gamblers Anonymous.

Judge Jonathan Gibson told Everall he had an 'appalling' record, with many convictions for burglary and had served many jail terms.

He said: "Every burglary of a school is particularly serious because it disrupts the education of pupils, particularly when expensive equipment is taken."