A PROLIFIC York criminal with more than 80 convictions is back behind bars, after he broke into a house to steal presents for his children.

Matthew John Dodson, 38, was jailed for three-and-a-half years and has now racked up prison sentences for burglary totalling more than 20 years. He was described by the judge as a “dyed in the wool burglar”.

At the time of his latest raid, Dodson, of Victor Street, South Bank, was on parole for pulling open a car door and stealing a handbag containing £2,250 from an 86-year-old woman who had just collected her pension and savings from a post office in Acomb.

Dodson had been jailed in 2011 fortwo years for that offence but was released early on parole and returned to crime, targeting a secluded riverside house in Clifton while the owners were on holiday.

Dodson already had 84 convictions in a criminal career dating back to his teens.

The Recorder of York, Judge Stephen Ashurst, told Dodson: “Unhappily, despite efforts to change your ways, it appears you are a dyed-in-the-wool burglar.

“The message doesn’t appear to have got through to you that repeated dwelling-house burglaries lead inevitably to custody.”

Dodson’s burglaries began when he was 17, and by 2005 he had served sentences totalling more than 12 years for house raids, York Crown Court heard. Since then he has received 21-month and three-year sentences for burglaries, as well as the two-year sentence for the Acomb theft, which left the pensioner traumatised.

A Good Samaritan who witnessed the crime was so appalled that he gave her £200. His previous burglary conviction was in 2008.

In the latest hearing, Alan Mitcheson told the court Dodson had left his blood on a broken window pane on December 8, 2012, when be broke into the Clifton house and stole an iPad.

He was tracked by his DNA.

Kevin Blount, for Dodson, said it was an impulsive raid and that he had needed some money to get Christmas presents for his children.

He had failed to receive a backdated benefit claim when he had expected to get it.

In 2011, Dodson claimed through his legal team the handbag snatch had been an impulsive action and that he had been short of money after his step-daughter stole his bank card.

Dodson pleaded guilty to burglary and was jailed for three-and-a-half years. He has already been recalled to custody for breaching his prison licence.