A VALLEYS man who tried to sell almost £5,000-worth of radios stolen from a special school must carry out 100 hours of unpaid work.

Former heroin addict Jason Thompson, 41, of Morgan Street, Tredegar, admitted handling stolen goods in front of magistrates last month.

At his sentencing at Cardiff Crown Court on Thursday, prosecutor David Pugh said a burglary at the Thomas Richards Centre, a special school in Tredegar, was reported on August 11 last year in which 18 Motorola radios, and three charging units were stolen with a total value of £14,437.

On November 18 last year six of the radios and a charging unit, worth £4,812, were submitted for sale at Cash Generators in Merthyr Tydfil.

Police spoke to staff at the shop and recognised Thompson on CCTV. He was arrested on December 30 and said he'd agreed to sell the radios in exchange for £50 but refused to say who had given them to him.

Mark Battrick, mitigating, said there was no suggestion the defendant had known the radios came from a special school and had cooperated with police.

"He became addicted to heroin while serving a prison sentence in 1996 and has been struggling with it ever since," said Mr Battrick. "He has started a six month drug treatment plan within the last couple of months and has been prescribed methadone."

Thompson, a qualified welder, was made redundant from his job in January and, other than breaching it by committing this offence, had complied with a community court order "to the letter", said Judge Neil Bidder.

"If there were fewer handlers there would be fewer burglars," he said. "You have a very serious record of dishonesty but have made real efforts to begin to change your life and rehabilitate yourself. This was giving way to temptation."

Thompson was sentenced to four months in prison suspended for 12 months and must carry out 100 hours' unpaid work in the community.

Judge Bidder said it was not in the interest of justice to sentence Thompson for breaching his community order. He must pay an £80 victim surcharge.