A BURGLAR claimed he was “off his nut” when he sneaked in through an open window and snatched a man’s overnight bag.

Drug-addled Dean Griffiths told police he could not remember burgling the house on Lord’s Lane, Chippenham, last September. The 34-year-old was caught through a fingerprint he left in the home.

Griffiths, formerly of Chippenham but now living in Salisbury, pleaded guilty to burglary.

After hearing that Griffiths had managed to get himself off heroin, after the death of his father from an overdose, Judge Peter Crabtree opted to defer sentence until February next year.

Griffiths must live at an address sanctioned by the probation service, keep up his drug rehabilitation efforts, remain out of trouble, co-operate with probation officers and save at least £150 towards compensation for his victim.

“Make sure you comply with it and when I see you on the next occasion you won’t go to custody. If you don’t – you will,” Judge Crabtree said.

Prosecuting, Hannah Squire said Griffiths had apparently climbed through a downstairs window and into a bedroom. An overnight bag, which contained around £430-worth of clothes and toiletries, had been left on the bed. Griffiths ignored prized jewellery and took the bag instead. It has not been recovered.

In a victim statement the homeowner said she had to have several days off work as a result of the burglary, it had left her nervous to leave the house and she had since installed extra security devices.

Interviewed by the police in June, Griffiths said he had no recollection of the incident. Ms Squire said: “I think he used the phrase that at the time he would have been 'off his nut'.”

David Maunder, defending, said of his client: “He’s disappointed with himself and confused and ashamed, because although he has a bad record and has stolen in the past he doesn’t have a significant record of dwelling house burglaries.”

Griffiths had previously struggled with drug addiction. The death of his father earlier this year from an overdose had prompted a change in direction, Mr Maunder said.

He was now receiving a methadone prescription, had hopes to move into his own accommodation and was paying off debts to old landlords.

Weighing up the options, Judge Crabtree said: “It is plainly in the interests of the public generally that Mr Griffiths doesn’t commit offences. That said, it is early days.

“He deserves a chance given the positives, but if he doesn’t continue he goes to prison.”

Griffiths is due back before the court on February 24 next year.