A FORMER drug addict who carried out burglaries at seven properties across south Wales over a three week period has been jailed.

Louis Maxwell, aged 30, of no fixed abode, took electrical items and jewellery in a spate of offending which ran between February 2 and February 23.

The defendant also took cars during the burglaries – despite being disqualified from driving and not having insurance.

He previously pleaded guilty to the offences.

Newport Crown Court heard that during the three weeks, Maxwell, originally from Newport, carried out two burglaries in Monmouthshire, four in Newport and one in Powys.

Prosecuting, Stephen Donoghue, labelled Maxwell’s offending as “an enormous hotchpotch of matters” including seven dwelling burglaries, two handling offences, six driving offences and two making off without payment.

“A handbag was taken from her house and it was next to her sleeping son,” said Mr Donoghue, in relation to an overnight incident in Langstone on February 22 and 23.

“He tried to sell a stolen handbag.”

Mr Donoghue read out a number of victim impact statements from the owners of the house which Maxwell burgled, with victims saying they felt “shock and disorientated” as well as “living in fear with constant reminders”.

Defending, Sophie Toms, told the court that the defendant had fallen on hard times but was keen to make amends and was remorseful.

“He was a relatively young man who had it all,” said Miss Toms.

“But he and his former partner had a falling out. He fell into depression and in with people who did class A drugs.

“He lost his morals over that period as well. He lost three stone in weight. He lost the support of his mother.”

Miss Toms read a letter written by Maxwell which indicated his regret for the burglaries.

“I take full responsibility for my actions,” she said on his behalf.

“I am truly sorry from the bottom of my heart.”

Miss Toms added that Maxwell had “limited recollection” of the offending due to taking a “huge quantities of drugs over a period of time”.

“He is turning a corner and he is determined to not go back down that road again,” said Miss Toms, adding Maxwell has enrolled on drug awareness and re-lapse prevention courses while in prison.

Concluding, judge Daniel Williams outlined the effect of his actions on those he targeted.

“It is as much as what you leave behind as what you take,” said Mr Williams.

“I cannot ignore the number of offences and the amount of harm you have done.”

Maxwell received a sentence of one year and nine months – which mirrored a previous sentence handed to him for motoring offences in March. The new sentence will consecutively to the previous one.

He received a sentence of one year and nine months for the burglaries, 12 months concurrently for the handling offences, four months concurrently for the driving while disqualified, and no separate penalty for making off without paying.

PC Jack Purcell said: “Louis Maxwell targeted vulnerable and elderly victims over a month long burglary series.

“He ransacked homes and stole financially and sentimentally valuable items with absolutely no regard for the feelings of the victims.

“The harrowing experience victims had experiencing a burglar in their house whilst they slept is something that will unfortunately stay with them for many years.

“Maxwell has showed absolutely no remorse throughout the investigation neither has he shown any consideration for the victims.”