A prolific burglar who broke into a Penge house on Christmas Eve and then tried to escape by minicab has been jailed for six years.

Colin O’Brien, 48, of Penge Road in South Norwood, was sentenced at Croydon Crown Court after being found guilty of a burglary in Sheringham Road, Penge.

O’Brien has 40 convictions for 99 offences to his name, dating back to 1982.

On December 24 police were alerted just after 2pm to a man acting suspiciously while in possession of various items of property.

He asked to borrow a passing member of the public’s phone to call for a minicab, and even offered the man £10 to drive him home.

Police stopped O’Brien soon after and found he had a car key, loose change, five mobile phones, gloves and other items taken from a home nearby.