A career criminal was back behind bars today just a month after being released from prison, for stealing from cars outside a crematorium while mourners were at a service.
Peter Dixon had been released on licence from a three-and-a-half year sentence for shoplifting and motoring offences when he embarked on his latest crime spree.
Glyn Samuel, prosecuting, told Stafford Crown Court that Dixon (39) also stole from cars parked outside nursery schools in the Tamworth area and left a six-year-old girl " traumatised" when he broke into her mother's car while she collected another daughter.
Dixon, of Birchfield Road, Lozells, was jailed for threeanda-half years - the sentence to start in February 2007 when he completes the remainder of a sentence passed at Birmingham Crown Court in November 2003 for shoplifting and taking cars without the owners' permission.
He pleaded guilty to eight charges of theft, dangerous driving, driving while disqualified and taking a vehicle. He was also banned for a further five years and ordered to retake a driving test.
Mr Samuel said Dixon broke into a Jaguar and a BMW parked outside Sutton Coldfield Crematorium in June while the owners were at a funeral service. He stole a chisel and Dutch cigarettes which police later found in the possession of his girlfriend.
"He took personal property from the BMW and threw the chisel at a passer-by who disturbed him. He got into a car and drove away but the chisel had been postcoded by the owner who happened to be the father of Dixon's girlfriend."
Mr Samuel said that later the same day Dixon stole property valued at £70 from another car while a woman went to collect her daughter from school and left her handbag on display in the footwell.
The following day he drove off erratically after being spotted by police, overtook vehicles, drove on to a pavement outside shops and caused other drivers to swerve.
Dixon abandoned his vehicle and stole a Mercedes at the Wyndley Leisure Centre, Sutton Coldfield, after stealing a bag containing the keys from a changing room.
"Next day he went to a nursery school at Mile Oak, Tamworth, where a woman collected her nine-month-old daughter. She left two 11-year-old girls in the rear and her six-year-old daughter in the front. He took a bag which contained a mobile phone, jewellery and other possessions worth £781 and left the young girl traumatised."
Mr Samuel said Dixon broke into two other BMWs in Canwell, near Tamworth, while parents collected children, used credit cards and obtained property worth £500. Dixon started offending in 1994 and made 26 court appearances. Walter Bealby, defending, said: "He said he received no help while in prison."