CRIME prevention police put up a CCTV camera in a Burnley street in a bid to deter thieves and vandals – but it was stolen three weeks later, a court was told.

The camera was still recording when prolific offender Brendan Ormonde, 38, stole it after it was fitted on a house in Nairne Street.

Ormonde, who has almost 150 previous convictions, was captured red-handed on film, looking straight into the camera, Burnley magistrates heard.

Jobless Ormonde was arrested, owned up and claimed he did it not for financial gain but because the camera was overlooking his friend’s home on the street.

The defendant, of Coal Clough Lane, Burnley, admitted theft of the £120 camera. He was told he could have gone to jail, but was fined £70, and told to pay £120 compensation and a £15 surcharge.

The bench, which made no order for costs, said they had seen his record and told Ormonde it was time he went on the straight and narrow.

Andrew Robinson, prosecuting, told the court the technical department of Burnley MAPS, a crime prevention partnership made up of police, council and other public bodies, put up the CCTV camera in Nairne Street because of problems with damage and burglary in the area.

It was erected on May 15 and stolen on June 5.

Ormonde was filmed in the act and admitted it was him. The camera has never been recovered.

The defendant, who did not attempt to burgle the property, had 134 previous convictions and last June was sent to prison for 52 weeks at Burnley Crown Court.

Graeme Tindall, defending, said the theft was an act of drunken bravado. The camera overlooked Ormonde’s friend’s property.

The solicitor said: “He is certainly not going to win any prizes for criminal sophistication. It is perhaps most appropriate for the TV show that shows criminals who do stupid things.”