A PROLIFIC thief who once tried to turn his life around with help from one of his victims has once again found himself in front of a judge.

In 2016, Lee Jones was offered the opportunity of a lifetime when one of his victims helped him get his life back on track as part of a restorative justice programme.

But a little under three years later Jones, of no fixed-address, has appeared at Preston Session’s House to be sentenced for eight separate burglaries.

The court heard how despite all good intentions the 49-year-old turned back to drugs after finding himself living on the streets following the death of his mother and father.

The career criminal, who once came face-to-face with one of his victims from whom he stole over £30,000 worth of goods, now faces another long stint behind bars after pleading guilty to a string of burglaries in Blackburn and Darwen.

Prosecuting, Paul Cummings said that Jones was caught after an officer recognised him from CCTV collected after one of the burglaries was reported. He was then linked to another break-in after DNA analysis confirmed blood found near a smashed door belonged to the father-of-one.

Once arrested Jones came clean about a further six burglaries spanning from February to April of this year, giving officers the addresses of the other homes he had raided.

Among other items, Jones had stolen cash, jewellery and electronics to fund his habit.

Defending, Jon Close said: “From the age of seven, through no fault of his own, my client has been a victim of the care system and all of the evils within it. He has led a life of addiction, having been addicted to heroin and crack cocaine from the age of 13.

“His criminal record shows very few gaps although he has maintained some periods of sobriety. The last time he was introduced back into the community he started having a positive stance in that he was trying to help other addicts.”

But after both his mother and father died within a short period of each other, Jones was back on the streets, stealing from others to fund his addiction.

The court heard that since Jones has been back in custody he has been engaging in a rehabilitation programme designed to help offenders lead better lives.

Only offenders serving sentences of three years or less are eligible for the programme, leading Judge Graham Knowles QC to adjourning sentencing for a report to be produced on his progress.