A HABITUAL thief who stole to fund his heroin habit claimed he had been reformed by becoming a grandad.

Blackburn magistrates heard Roy James White had now engaged with Inspire, the drug agency, and was on a methadone prescription.​

And Nick Dearing, defending, said his client was determined beat the habit which spanned 29 years.​

White, 46, of Paythorne Avenue, Burnley, pleaded guilty to three charges of theft from motor vehicles and fraudulent use of a bank card taken from one of them.

He was sentenced to eight weeks in prison suspended for 12 months, made subject to a community order for 12 months with 15 days rehabilitation activity requirement and nine months drug rehabilitation requirement. He was also ordered to pay £992 towards the cost of items stolen and damaged caused to the vehicles involved which the chairman said represented half of the total value.

"We are giving you a chance to show that you are determined to change your ways," he said.

Andy Robinson, prosecuting, said the offences went back to April and in most cases windows had been smashed to gain entry to the vehicles. He said White had been committing thefts from vehicles since 1990 and they had been a constant feature of his record over the years.

Mr Dearing said his client had reached an age where he knew he had to change.

"His offending over the years had been down to heroin," said Mr Dearing.

"He has recently become a grandad and when that happened he finally took steps to tackle his drug problem.

"He has started to work with the community drug team and says getting onto methadone is the best thing he has ever done."