A CAREER burglar is today starting a three-year prison sentence, thanks to the sharp eyes of CCTV operators.

Michael Gary Robinson, 49, and his accomplice Christine Loretta Burns, 40, tried to get into student flats on Lawrence Street, York, on September 8, Christopher Rose, prosecuting, told York Crown Court.

When they were unsuccessful they moved on to a shared house adjacent to the accommodation and when they discovered that its door was unlocked, they went in and stole two low-value bicycles.

But CCTV operators had spotted their actions, alerted police and both were caught as they made their escape.

Robinson, of Melbourne Street, York, and Burns, of Burnsall Drive, Acomb, both admitted burglary and attempted burglary.

Burns also admitted shoplifting an auxiliary cable at the BP garage on Lawrence Road shortly before the burglaries, and shoplifting two bottles of whisky from the Marks & Spencer Parliament Street store some days earlier.

Robinson, who has many previous convictions for burgling homes starting when he was a youth in the eighties, was jailed for three years and four months. Burns was jailed for 12 months.

For Robinson, Andrew Semple said: “This is not a man given to professional burglary.

“This is a man who knows he is wasting his life. He will be entering his fifties by the time he is released from custody.”

Robinson had spent “all his adult life” in prison, said Mr Semple.

For Burns, Richard Minion said the burglary was a spontaneous act.

Mr Rose said the couple were spotted trying to open windows in the Samuel Tuke apartments in Lawrence Street.

As they burgled the shared house, police were already closing in on them. Burns was caught cycling away on one of the stolen bikes and Robinson was caught nearby fleeing on foot.

Mr Minion said the occupants of the house were unaware they had been burgled until police told them after catching the burglars.

Mr Semple said Robinson was a chronic drug user and was suffering from an injury after he was attacked in the street.

However, he was no longer on heroin and now used Valium.

He was also receiving mental health treatment.

Mr Rose said the couple both went into the BP garage when Burns stole the auxiliary cable which was found on her when she was arrested for the burglaries.

Mr Minion said Burns had a long history of domestic violence and had spent time in and out of women’s refuges.

She had recently got her own tenancy, but would lose that if she was sent to jail, said Mr Minion.

She had a history of shoplifting to fund her drug habit.