A 47-year old man has been jailed for 32 months after stealing thousands of pounds worth of goods from a student property, including a laptop containing a student’s dissertation.

Martin James, who has 27 previous convictions and has spent much of his life in prison, was sentenced at Oxford Crown Court last Thursday.

The court were told that James’ offending began in 1982, and that he was jailed for 5 years in 1999 for conspiring to supply Class A drugs. This latest offence was committed within weeks of his most recent release.

A Thames Valley Police spokesperson told Cherwell, “I can confirm that Martin Sylvester James, aged 47, of Luther Street, Oxford, was charged with one count of burglary – relating to an incident on 1 October in which an iPod, Nintendo 3DS, DELL laptop (worth £500), HP laptop (worth £500) and a second DELL laptop (worth £750), and a wallet was stolen from a property.” 

The judge condemned James’ actions, stating, “It does seem an act of utter folly that you should have committed this crime which the jury convicted you of.”

He added, “This was a house where a number of young people were living and one of them lost all of his dissertation.” Students are now being advised to back up all their work.