A prolific criminal who fronted a police anti-burglary campaign after claiming he had left crime behind has been jailed for more than six years.
Peter Findlay, 34, was handed the lengthy sentence after breaking into a house in Leeds as a “cry for help”.
Findlay, who has more than 40 previous convictions, mainly for burglary, was enlisted by West Yorkshire Police and the probation service 12 months ago to take part in a YouTube video and meet-the-burglar sessions to tell university students how to avoid being burgled.
Leeds Crown Court heard yesterday how Findlay kicked down the door at a house on Oldroyd Crescent, Beeston, on October 29 this year and stole £500 worth of property.
A neighbour spotted the break-in and contacted police who arrested Findlay as he was walking down the street carrying the items in a suitcase.
Officers had to use CS spray to detain burly Findlay, who is 6ft 5ft tall, and he spat at one of them during the struggle.
After his arrest he told officers: “I only did it to get caught.” He said in interview he had rowed with his girlfriend and wanted to “self destruct” and return to prison because of all the stress in his life.
Findlay, of Tilbury Grove, Holbeck, admitted burglary and common assault.
Since agreeing to take part in the police campaign, Findlay has also been back in court for stealing a £1,000 West Yorkshire Police capture bike – used by the force to snare regular crooks.
He has also received a 12-month community order for shoplifting from TK Maxx at Crown Point.
Jayne Dodson, mitigating, said Findlay had a personality disorder as a result of a troubled childhood. Mrs Dodson said Findlay had struggled with drug and alcohol problems and had become institutionalised by the amount of time he had spent in custody.
Judge James Spencer QC jailed Findlay for six years and one month. Referring to the spitting incident, the judge said: “It was a wicked thing to do. You know it is not necessary to do that type of thing.”