A CAREER burglar who embarked on a spree of break-ins in the Wrexham area has been jailed for three-and-a-half years.

Billy Bowen, watching from prison via video link, appeared to be ecstatic when Judge Rhys Rowlands passed sentence on him at Mold Crown Court.

Bowen raided three homes in the space of three weeks earlier this year, making off with electrical equipment, watches, jewellery and games consoles as well as foreign currency.

But he was caught red-handed during the last break-in and was apprehended by police after fleeing across a roof top.

As he sentenced him to concurrent terms of 42 months in prison on each of the three counts of burglary, the judge told him: “The aggravating features are that there are three separate burglaries, which gives the lie to any suggestion that these were impulse offences, and the effects have been quite profound.

“They were carried out by a man who is a career burglar.”

Barrister David Maidstone, prosecuting, told the court Bowen first struck on February 2 at an address in Royton Close, Wrexham, where the householder found a brick that had been used to break the window.

A Dell laptop, jewellery, keys, two watches and foreign currency were taken.

Police enquiries later discovered that Bowen had gone into travel agents in Wrexham to exchange the currency, but he provided his name for the second transaction and was also caught on CCTV.

Four days after the first break-in he again used a brick to smash a conservatory door to enter a home in Penymaes Avenue in Wrexham where he stole two high value watches with a combined value of £5,000 as well as £2,000 worth Nintendo game consoles and a Samsung tablet.

But he was caught as he attempted to make off from the third break-which took place at an empty home in Burton Road, Rossett, in the early hours of March 16.

He stole a bank card belonging to the elderly homeowner who had passed away earlier in the year, but was disturbed by a neighbour.

When police officers arrived he tried to escape by running across the kitchen roof and jumping over an outbuilding, but he was found lying low in a neighbour’s garden.

Peter Jones said her late aunt Elsa Andrews’ home had been left empty during probate proceedings and added in a victim statement that it was a “huge shock” to her family sorting out the damage after Bowen had ransacked her home.

Bowen, 31, of St Giles Crescent, Wrexham admitted three counts of burglary.

The court heard he had suffered a troubled upbringing and his defence barrister, Henry Hills, said his criminal record stretched back to 2000 when he was aged 13.

“It would appear his offending behaviour is lengthy due to a chaotic lifestyle.

"He was abused by his stepfather and his mother rejected him, while his real father died when he was 17,” said Mr Hills.

“This has had an impact on his ability to function and trust people. He has preferred the boundaries of custodial settings.”

Bowen tried to re-engage with his mother after his release from prison in April last year, but after his attempt failed he resorted to “heavy drug use” and Mr Hills added: “It was in this context that he committed these offences.”