A SENIOR police officer has criticised a prolific thief's jail sentence as ‘no deterrent’ and an ‘inappropriate punishment’.

Judge Beverley Lunt jailed gambling addict Peter Everall for eight months at Burnley Crown Court after he admitted burgling a farm storage unit.

That offence happened just one month after 44-year-old Everall, who has appeared before the courts 98 times for 268 offences, mostly theft, successfully appealed a 16-week jail sentence for burgling a firm in Bury.

Taking to Twitter to comment on Everall’s latest prison sentence, Superintendent John-Paul Ruffle, of Greater Manchester Police, wrote: “This prolific burglar has appeared in the dock nearly 100 times.

“A 32-week sentence is no deterrent nor an appropriate punishment for such a prolific thief #throwawaythekey.

“Just a shame the punishment doesn’t reflect the crime, the impact he has on the local communities or his criminal history.”

Everall was jailed for 32 weeks in 2012 for stealing laptops from Haslingden High School, raiding a fruit machine at Clayton-le-Moors Conservative Club and burgling Crewe Working Men’s Club when he went to visit his mother.

The following year Everall, who has distinctive face and neck tattoos, was jailed for three and a half years after pleading guilty to rifling through pupils’ pockets while they did PE.

The incidents happened at St Christopher’s High School, in Accrington, Rhyddings school in Oswaldtwistle, and Peel Brow County Primary School, in Ramsbottom. He also went into Holland’s Pies in Baxenden during the night shift and helped himself to a mobile phone and continued the catalogue of crime at Senator International in Altham.

In 2010, he was jailed for 20 months after carrying out more than 40 raids at buildings in Rossendale and Burnley, including Belmont Special School, Haslingden, Winfields, Haslingden, and Haslingden Conservative Club.

Rossendale PCSO Chris Hamer said it was up to Everall, of Hud Rake, Haslingden, to work with the probation service and police to change his ways but if he didn’t then they would ‘target’ him as with any ‘high-risk repeat offender’.

PCSO Hamer said: “It is entirely in his hands to turn things around. If he doesn’t take that help and address his gambling addiction he is going to keep going in and out of prison.

“If he doesn’t address his triggers then we will continue to target him when he is released like we would with any prolific offender.”

He added on Twitter: “Every time he’s released we’re counting the hours until he’s breaking into houses again. We’re constantly targeting him on release but we can’t hold his hand 24/7.”

Prosecuting his latest offence, Francis McEntee said complainant Glen Burnie had been alerted to the presence of Everall at his property in Crown Point Road, Burnley, at 10.30am on October 4 by his dogs barking.

When he went to investigate he saw a bald man with tattoos on his neck walking away from the unit towards red Vauxhall Corsa with drill cases in either hand.

As Everall went to put the cases in the boot of the Corsa, which contained tools the defendant had already stolen, Mr Burnie challenged Everall.

He responded: “I am just packing the tools up for the lads on the job.”

Not believing him, Mr Burnie told Everall to sit in the back of the car and wait for the police to arrive.

Mr McEntee said Everall started pleading with Mr Burnie not to call the police and even offered him money.

A short time later a friend of Mr Burnie arrived and Everall ran off over grassland.

But as he ran he trampled the grass, leaving a path for police to find him.

Defending Chris Richards said his client had been battling a gambling addiction, his main vice being fixed odds betting machine, but he was attempting to turn his life around and had recently taken part in a national scheme to have himself self-excluded from every betting shop in the country.

Jailing Everall, Judge Beverley Lunt, said: “You have got an absolutely appalling record for offences of dishonesty and many offences of burglary from non-dwellings.

“To describe this as a daylight robbery would be an understatement. It was only not carried out because it was foiled by the farmer.”

Judge Lunt added: “It’s now got to the stage that all the courts can do is protect people from you and protect property from you.”