A SERIAL raider who stole irreplacable family photos of a seriously ill 10-year-old girl from her family home has been jailed for three and a half years.

Images and video footage of Sophie Micklethwaite were on a laptop computer which Samuel Horsfall stole when he attacked her house on Highfield Avenue, Burnley, during the night last November.

Sophie suffers a rare blood deficiency and had had a life-saving bone marrow transplant at Manchester Children's Hospital, just days before Horsfall, a drug addict, struck.

A handbag and cash were also amongst Horsfall's haul and he had even entered the bedroom of Sophie's sleeping 15-year old sister and helped himself to an iPod and mobile phone from under her pillow.

Sophie had been using the stolen laptop to exchange emails and see her friends via webcam whilst she was in part-isolation after the operation.

Burnley Crown Court heard how the defendant, 29, had got into the Micklethwaites' house after the conservatory was accidentally left unlocked.

As a result insurers will not pay up and a judge said the family were "victims in every sense."

Horsfall, a young dad, who has 40 convictions on his record and has been invading other people's homes since he was a youth, admitted four burglaries committed between last Nov 24 and December 26.

The defendant of Lawn Street, Burnley, also broke into the home of a 70-year-old man in Colne Road, struck a second time on Highfield Avenue and carried out two offences in one day.

Sentencing the defendant, who was rumbled after leaving footprints and tools at the scenes of his crimes, Judge Philip Butler said:"This was mean and despicable offending."

Nick Dearing, for Horsfall, said he was realistic, knew what he had done was despicable and did not seek or expect any sympathy.

After the hearing Sophie’s dad Andy said: “I feel sorry for the guy, that his life has come to this, and I hope he comes to his senses now and uses this as a turning point.”

Sophie suffers from a rare blood disorder, called Diamond Blackfan Anaemia, which resulted in her requiring a bone marrow transplant.

She is recovering well following the operation and is hopeful, if her condition continues to improve, that she can return to school in the next few weeks.