A BURGLAR stole charity boxes from a vets after breaking in to “feed his heroin addiction”.

Carl Hodge, who has 57 previous convictions for 160 offences, raided Summerhill Vets in Newport last month.

Sophie Keegan, prosecuting, said the defendant had also burgled the city’s Christchurch Centre in July when he took a computer screen worth £2,000.

That stolen item was later recovered in bushes and detectives found Hodge’s DNA at the scene.

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Miss Keegan told Newport Crown Court how the defendant stole around £100 in cash from the till at Summerhill Vets on August 23.

It is unknown how much was in the charity boxes he plundered but none of the money was ever recovered.

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CCTV footage captured both burglaries and the defendant could be seen returning to the scene at the vets to “wipe down surfaces”.

Police also recovered a can of Coke with his DNA from the second break-in.

The judge, Recorder Duncan Bould, heard how 97 of Hodge’s 160 offences were for theft-related crimes.

The 38-year-old defendant, of Chepstow Road, Newport, pleaded guilty to two counts of burglary.

He also admitted possession of cannabis, the class B drug being found at his home when he was arrested.

Stuart John, mitigating, asked the court to give his client, a father of one, full credit for his guilty pleas.

He said: “They were entered at the first available opportunity at the magistrates’ court.

“The defendant has an ingrained heroin addiction.”

Mr John revealed how Hodge had suffered a difficult childhood and added: “His mother was a violent alcoholic.”

Recorder Bould told the defendant: “You committed these offences to feed your heroin addiction.”

Hodge was jailed for six months for the Christchurch Centre burglary and given a consecutive prison sentence of three months for the Summerhill Vets break-in.

The total custodial term was nine months with the defendant having to serve half before being released.

He was also ordered to pay a £156 victim surcharge.