POLICE have welcomed a five-year prison sentence for a prolific burglar they believe was responsible for ‘countless’ break-ins across the town.

Russell Bastow, of Mazurek Way, Swindon, was found guilty of burglary and sentenced at Swindon Crown Court on Friday and Wiltshire Police hope this will send a strong message to criminals who target homes.

In April this year, Bastow managed to gain access through the kitchen window of a house in Liden and when he was discovered by the homeowner, who found him rummaging through his bedroom, the 33-year-old then chased the vicitm out of the house wielding a large metal tool.

During the burglary, Bastow managed to steal jewellery and tamper with a home computer.

A spokesman for Wiltshire Police said: “Today’s sentencing sends a stark message out that burglary is a serious offence and will be dealt with as such.

“Bastow is a prolific offender who has been involved in countless burglaries in and around the Swindon area.

“His actions have had a severe affect on many people in Swindon.“Burglary is a very personal crime and many victims feel that their home has been violated by these intruders.

“We would urge anyone who witnesses anything suspicious or as any information on any incidents of burglary to come forward. All information given to the police will be treated in the strictest confidence.”

Anyone with information or who has been a victim of crime should call Wiltshire Police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Also, advice about making homes more secure can be found on the Wiltshire Police website – www.wiltshire.police.uk.