A "callous" burglar who broke into the home of Olympic rowing hero James Cracknell and stole his prized gold medals was jailed yesterday for three years.
Mark Murphy (30) took the "unique and precious" award as he ransacked the sportsman's flat in March.
The medals were among a haul of jewellery, electrical goods and other valuables worth £24,000 taken from Cracknell's home while he and his wife, Beverley Turner, were away for the night.
Fortunately the medals awarded for Cracknell's success in the coxless fours in Sydney in 2000 and Athens four years later were recovered by a neighbour's dog.
They were found dumped in bushes just a few streets from the 33-year-old double gold medallist's two-bedroomed flat in Chiswick, west London.
Judge Jonathan Lowen, sitting at Isleworth Crown Court, told Murphy the theft of the medals had had a "devastating effect" on his victim.
Murphy, a carpet fitter of Raynham Road, Hammer-smith, west London was found guilty by a jury last month of one count of burglary.
During the trial the court heard the items stolen included Cracknell's £8,000 diamond-studded platinum wedding ring, three laptops, an iPod, a camera and a collection of watches housed in a leather display case.
Murphy, who has convictions spanning 16 years, was out of prison on licence when he committed the burglary.