IAN Thomas comforted his devastated friend and neighbour when she returned home to find a burglar had stolen her television, hi-fi, CDs and other property.

But it turned out that callous Thomas was himself responsible for the raid in Acrefair, near Wrexham.

Thomas, 33, of Glaslyn, Acrefair, admitted burglary on May 8 at the home of friend Jemma Davies.

He received a 10-month prison sentence, suspended for 18 months,and was placed on supervision with a drug rehabilitation course and an offender substance abuse programme.

John Oates, prosecuting, told Mold Crown Court: “An unfortunate feature of this case is that after the burglary was discovered, this defendant comforted her, when in fact he was responsible for the offence.”

David Potter, defending, said his client had drug problems but was motivated to change.

Judge Philip Hughes said he was prepared to give him a chance to help him resolve his drug problems.

“Don't let me down but more importantly don’t let yourself down,” he told him.

The court heard the victim returned home on May 8 and found the windows of her home open.  A 32 inch television, a hi-fi, mobile phone, CDs and DVDs and a digital box had all been taken.

Family members found out Thomas was responsible, went to see him, but he dismissed the allegations.

Police visited him and Thomas denied burglary.

When some of the stolen property was found at his home, he claimed he felt sorry for his friend so he found out who had burgled her house and retrieved some of her belongings.

But when blood found on a sofa was linked by DNA to Thomas he changed his story and admitted he was the burglar.

Thomas was said to have an extensive criminal record but could not remember the burglary because of the alcohol and diazepam he had taken.

He only had flashbacks but was full of remorse when he realised what he had done, said Mr Potter.