A MAN embarked on a crime spree to fund his drug habit.

Blackburn magistrates heard that when John Rice was drug free he was offence-free.

The magistrates adjourned the case for a pre-sentence report after hearing Rice had self-referred to Inspire, the drink and drugs support agency.

Rice, 36, of Newton Street, Darwen, pleaded guilty to three charges of theft from motor vehicle, five charges of fraudulently using a stolen debit card and two charges of vehicle interference. He was remanded on bail until November 4 for the preparation of a report.

Jade Coleman, prosecuting, said most of the offences were caught on CCTV or doorbell cameras and were committed in the Darwen area. Cards stolen from the vehicles were used for contactless purchases in shops and garages before they were cancelled.

Miss Coleman said Rice had 44 previous convictions for 111 offences, 92 of them theft related.

Gareth Price, defending, said none of the vehicles had been damaged during the offences.

"His difficulties are linked to drugs," said Mr Price. "When he is not using he doesn't offend but when he relapses, as he did here, he needs money quickly."

Mr Price said Rice had been made subject to a suspended sentence in June 2020 and had come through it without any problems.

"He was progressing well but unfortunately he relapsed and you have before you a spree of offending over a three week period," said Mr Price.

"He realised he needed help so he contacted Inspire and he is now on a methadone script and there has been no offending for two weeks."