A career criminal who carried out a near £5,000 raid on a Burnley college has been given a chance to fight his "chronic," drug habit.

Burnley Crown Court had earlier heard how Barry Duxbury, 31, who also raided a shop in the town, had been jailed constantly for seven years.

Duxbury, of Wren Street, Burnley, had previously admitted two burglaries and had been committed for sentence by the town's magistrates. Sentence had been adjourned for the defendant to be assessed by the probation service.

The defendant has now been given a community order with supervision and a two year drug rehabilitation requirement.

Judge Beverley Lunt told him the college burglary was a particularly serious offence. She said if she were to send Duxbury to prison it would be for two and a half years and a suspended sentence wouldn't be long enough.

She said she was giving Duxbury a final chance and warned him :"Its an onerous sentence. You must understand this. Its going to be difficult for you to do and if you fail you will go to prison for two and a half years.."

The court had earlier been told how Duxbury offended to try and raise cash to buy heroin. He broke into Hambledon Community College last December and stole 11 laptops, four radios, five chargers and cash, worth £4,728.

He was arrested after police recognised him on CCTV and when he was questioned, he accepted he had committed the burglary to get drugs and to try and pay off a £200 heroin debt.

Duxbury, said to have committed the offence with another man he has not named, at first claimed he did not benefit from the burglary, alleging all the stolen property had been taken from where he and the accomplice stashed it. He later claimed he got £30 for one of the items.

The hearing had been told police were called to the shop on Standish Street in February, by the terrified woman who lived in a flat above. She had heard noises, went downstairs, found the shutters had been forced and saw someone in the shop. Duxbury was found by police inside the premises lying on the floor, with clothing in a bin liner.

The court was told the defendant had a record for dishonesty, burglary, theft, deception and robbery. He had been in custody since the