A burglar who was told, “it doesn’t get much lower than stealing someone else’s medals” after taking the war decorations from a neighbour’s flat has walked free from court.

Scott Cadder also broke in to store rooms belonging to apartments during a week of crime in October last year.

And among the items the 28-year-old took from the sheds were two artificial Christmas trees, a generator and a bike.

But after hearing Cadder did not have a long record of crime after coming to drug addiction late in life, a judge imposed a suspended sentence.

Tessa Hingston, prosecuting, told Swindon Crown Court Cadder targeted properties in Milverton Court, Park North, in October last year.

She said: “The dwelling burglary is clearly the most serious and concerns the defendant breaking into a flat which was unoccupied.

“Both the owner and his lodger were out at the time. He took items belonging to the lodger: Medals, silver chains, rings and a watch.

“The majority of the items were recovered. The defendant was traced as he tried to sell a number of items he had taken in the burglary.”

Cadder, of Milverton Court, admitted five counts of burglary, four in the flats where he lives and the other in Torrington Court, the tower block across the road.

The court heard he was given community orders for four thefts, criminal damage and possessing a bladed article, which took place after the break-ins.

Alex Daymond, defending, said his client had been on bail since he was arrested but after breaching his bail in June was remanded in custody.

As a result he said he had served two months behind bars after being caught with drugs paraphernalia, though he denied the matter.

“Mr Cadder is 28 years old and perhaps one of the significant features of his list is it is all fairly recent – 2009 is his first which is unusual as it normally starts much earlier,” he said.

“He started experimenting with drugs relatively late in life and quickly developed a fairly serious habit, which led to him starting to offend.

“These are in effect his first offences of dishonesty. What I think is significant is magistrates sentenced him to two orders.

“He had complied pretty well with the terms of the orders that had been imposed.

“The reason the probation service don’t recommend a drug rehabilitation requirement today is they believe he has done pretty well in reduction by his own volition.

“This is a man who is showing a determination with what has been a problem for him.”

Passing sentence, Recorder Robert Pawson said: “I have read that you have been drug tested while on remand and I have seen the certificates and read a letter written to the court that you wrote.

“You fall to be sentenced on one matter of dwelling burglary and four matters of non dwelling burglary. I understand that you were addicted to drugs at the time.

“You have, some might say, already had an opportunity from the court given non custodial orders in April and June and found soon after with drugs paraphernalia.

“I accept no-one was present but it was a neighbour’s home, which was pretty low.

“Among other things you stole medals. That to me, I am afraid, in any view and your solicitor concedes, must have been of sentimental or emotional value to the owner. Again, it doesn’t get much lower than stealing someone else’s medals.”

He imposed a ten-month jail term suspended for 18 months with a four-month night time curfew.