A SCAFFOLDER who burgled a glaziers and was caught by police hours later with stolen tools in his house changed his mind about his guilt.

When Craig Saint Lewis was interviewed by police about the theft, he told officers: “Is that the one where they found stuff in my house? Yes, yes, guilty.”

But when the case went to court Lewis, 31, who has 27 convictions for 45 offences, entered a not guilty plea.

Weeks before he was due to stand trial, Lewis changed his mind again and pleaded guilty to burglary and theft from Lancashire Glass and Glazing, Burnley.

Opening his sentence hearing, prosecutor Isobel Thomas said the offences dated back to November 16.

Ms Thomas said: “At 8am on that morning the police received information there was a white van parked in Every Street in Burnley which was suspected to have been stolen. Police officers made their way to the rear of the properties that were there. When they arrived they saw a white Volkswagen LT35 van, which was displaying signage relating to Lancashire Glass.

“As the officers were there they saw a male, this defendant, exit a house on Every Street and run across the road. He was chased by PC Brown who arrested him.”

Ms Thomas said police searched Lewis’s house and found two carrier bags in the kitchen containing tools.

When they contacted the owner of Lancashire Glass he said he was just arrived at work but confirmed a window had been smashed at the business and a van had been taken. When he was shown photographs of the tools, which were valued at £1,600, he confirmed they had been taken from the site.

Simon Gurney, defending, said his client had been to prison for three months for an unrelated matter since he committed these offences and after his release had ‘made a great deal of progress in putting his life on a stable footing’.

Mr Gurney said: “He has managed to remain offence free. He has free of codeine and crack cocaine. He has been voluntarily attending Inspire. He is keen to remain drug free. He is a scaffolder by trade and he currently has full-time employment erecting stages for events.”

Mr Gurney said his client had started a new relationship and had now been given access to his daughter.

Lewis was given a 12 month community order, with a nine-month drug rehabilitation requirement and 20 rehabilitation activity requirement days.