A prolific burglar with a “very long list of convictions for burglaries” was arrested and jailed for 10 months after he was spotted inside a Lincoln cafe late at night.
Police were contacted by staff of the neighbouring Plough Boy pub after Mark Patterson, 40, was seen inside the Sizzling Griddle on Upper Long Leys Road in Lincoln.
Chris Jeyes, prosecuting at Lincoln Crown Court, said: “Police were called and an officer climbed over the fence and detained the defendant.
“The door to the café outbuilding was open. A vacuum cleaner was on the floor.
“The defendant said he was on his way to see his girlfriend in hospital.”
Mr Jeyes added: “He has a very long list of convictions for burglaries. He has 73 offences of dishonesty on his record going back to 1991 when his first offences of theft was committed.
“He has committed offences more or less every year since then other than when he has been in prison.”
The court was told that Patterson had five previous convictions for house burglary and a further 11 previous convictions for other burglaries.
Patterson, of Dykes End in Collingham, admitted burglary of the Sizzling Griddle café on May 18 this year. He was jailed for 10 months.
Judge Simon Hirst passing sentence told him: “You have a truly horrific record of previous convictions.
“You are a very prolific burglar. Your partner was in hospital on a cardiac care ward and yet you still took time out to do a bit of burglary on your way to see her. Your record makes it very difficult to impose anything other than immediate custody.”
David Eager, in mitigation, urged the judge to impose a suspended jail sentence.
He said: “Mr Patterson is at a loss to explain his behaviour. What he was telling the police about his partner being in hospital was true.”