A man broke into a water treatment works and stole £100 worth of electrical cabling during a burglary.

James Rickwood also pleaded guilty to one offence of producing cannabis at a hearing in November.

Burnley Crown Court heard how a site engineer at the United Utilities site in Lower Eccleshill Road, Darwen, reported a series of break-ins at the site between September 6 and September 17.

On September 7, it was noted that a lock had been broken, though no items or equipment appeared to be missing.

However, further break-ins on September 13, 14, 15, and 16 it saw people removing cables and leaving exposed live wires.

Blood was found at the scene by police officers, who traced it back to Rickwood. They attended his home on November 1 and arrested him.

Upon being cautioned, he admitted he had cannabis plants, a total of 33, drying in the back room, which amounted to production.

Rickwood admitted he attended the site in Darwen once and took wiring he believed to be worth around £100.

Regarding the cannabis, he said he had found the plants and took them home to dry them out.

Initially he did not know this amounted to production, but accepted now that it did. He added the cannabis was for personal consumption only.

Rickwood, of Brush Street, Burnley, has 51 convictions for 102 offences.

Mitigating, Mark Stuart said cannabis consumption had causes his client some problems over the years and that it is not the first time he has found drugs near to where he lives.

Sentencing, Judge Sara Dodd said: “You have been before the courts on 51 separate occasions.

"There is a notable gap between 2017 and 2023, however in May 2023 you were made subject to a suspended sentence totalling 42 weeks.

“These offences were committed in September 2023, so shortly after the imposition of the suspended sentence.

“Your previous convictions elevate the sentence for the burglary outside the guidelines. I accept your basis of plea that you found them, you were drying them out, and they were for your own use.

“I will not activate the suspended sentence on this occasion. It remains in force until May 4, 2025. Should you reoffend between now and then, you will come back to court.”

Rickwood was sentenced to four months in prison for the burglary offence and was given a 12 month conditional discharge for the drug offence.