A three-strikes burglar who was caught when he tried to sell stolen furniture to a friend of the victim has walked free from court.

Alan Aldous twice raided the empty house in Church Street, Royal Wootton Bassett, which was for sale, and sold the proceeds at a nearby second-hand store.

But when Aldous, 23, went to the vintage shop for a second time the owner recognised what he was selling as coming from her friend’s mum’s house.

As he had two previous convictions for housebreaking Aldous was facing the prospect of a three-year jail term under the three strikes rule.

But Recorder Nicholas Atkinson QC ruled it would be unjust to impose an immediate jail term and gave him on a suspended sentence.

Aldous, of The Lawns, Royal Wootton Bassett, pleaded guilty to two counts of burglary.

The court heard he had 21 previous convictions, including breaking into houses when he was aged 14 and 16 years old and getting four years for robbery in 2009.

An 18-month jail term suspended for two years was imposed and Aldous must complete 200 hours of unpaid work.