THE dad of tragic toddler Levi Bleasdale, who was killed by a hit-and-run driver in Burnley eight years ago, has been spared jail after admitting burglary.

Lee Bleasdale, 30, had broken into an unoccupied house, which was in 'pristine condition' and ready to be let, the day after coming out of prison.

He had struck in the early hours and had ripped out the fireplace.

Bleasdale was caught after a worried neighbour on Cog Lane, Burnley, called police, the town's crown court was told.

Bleasdale, who is addicted to hard drugs, had been found hiding behind a settee in the property and had gloves with him.

The defendant told officers he was homeless and had nowhere to stay after he had been released from prison the day before.

Bleasdale's daughter Levi, three, died after she was knocked down by a hit-and-run driver in a stolen car on Ormerod Road, Burnley, in September 2005. His barrister said he had had a difficult past 'filled with sadness'.

The defendant, formerly of Grange Street, Burnley, admitted burglary.

Bleasdale, who has 38 offences on his record and first broke the law in 2000, is now going to live with his grandmother.

The defendant was given 15 months in jail, suspended for 18 months, with an 18 months drugs programme, supervision and a three month curfew, between 9pm and 8am.

Paul Hodgkinson, for Bleasdale, said he had an 'appalling' criminal record.

The defendant, who had been on remand for the equivalent of six months, had been going to programmes, but was not foolish enough to think he had rid himself of his habit.

Mr Hodgkinson said Bleasdale had been in and out of custody for all his adult life.

Sentencing, Recorder Mark Ainsworth said Bleasdale's conduct had caused the owner of the house nuisance and cost her money.

The judge said: “You burgle houses to take property and make a living out of it.” The judge added: “I am prepared to give you a chance.

“The time is right now to give you one chance and see how you respond.”