A MAN described in court as a “career criminal” committed a series of business burglaries and a theft in Burnley.

Blackburn magistrates heard on one occasion Mark Ellis was caught on CCTV crawling along the floor of a petrol station shop to avoid activating the motion sensors before leaving with cigarettes worth £3,500.

He also broke into a dental surgery and a children’s nursery, stealing cash from one and a laptop computer from the other.

Ellis, 45, of Bird Street, Brierfield, pleaded guilty to burglary at Tesco petrol station, Centenary Way, and theft of cigarettes, burglary at Bank Parade dental surgery and theft of cash, burglary at Le Monde Petit Nursery and theft of a laptop and theft of a £3,000 electric pedal cycle belonging to David Carter.

He was committed in custody to Burnley Crown Court to be sentenced after Deputy District Judge Liz Harte said her powers were insufficient.

“In my judgement you are a professional, career criminal and the last offences for which you were sentenced by the Crown Court led to a prison sentence,” said Deputy District Harte.

Scott Parker, prosecuting, said the petrol station offence was caught on CCTV which showed Ellis smash a pane of glass and then crawl to the kiosk to avoid sensors being activated.

“Once in the kiosk he ripped the door off the cigarette cabinet and stole a large quantity of cigarettes,” said Mr Parker. “Scenes of crime officers recovered a blood sample from the scene which traced back to the defendant.”

Police were investigating an alarm at Le Monde Petit Nursery at 3.38am when they noticed the window of the nearby dental surgery had been smashed with a brick.

CCTV showed Ellis inside the surgery conducting an untidy search before leaving with a small amount of cash.

Footage from the nursery security system showed Ellis approaching from the direction of the dental surgery, picking up a shovel and use it to smash a window.

The electric bike had been left outside the Lifestyle Fitness Gym in Burnley secured with four padlocks and fitted with a GPS tracker.

The owner was alerted on his phone that his bike had been tampered with and moved.

“It was subsequently recovered,” said Mr Parker.

Mark Williams, defending, said it was clear his client had not gone out with the intention of committing three offences, equipped with the necessary tools.

“He used a brick to smash the window of the dental surgery and used a shovel which had been left in the yard to smash the window of the nursery,” said Mr Williams.