A SERIAL burglar has been jailed for breaking into the Royal Devon & Exeter Hospital and stealing charity boxes.
Heroin addict Simon Morgan, 35, also carried out a series of raids on houses around Exeter, including one where a terrified woman caught him inside her home.
His other burglaries included the home of an elderly couple and public buildings including the hospital and the city's deaf academy.
Morgan had only just been released from a previous sentence for identical raids when he went on a four-week crime spree.
He was homeless and carried out the raids after returning to an addiction to drugs, Exeter Crown Court was told.
Morgan, whose last known address was in Exhayes Road, Exwick, admitted eight burglaries, one attempted burglary and asked for five more burglaries to be considered.
Jailing him for 40 months, Judge Phillip Wassall said: "You caused damage to the hospital in the course of your burglary and the attempted burglary was at the home of a single woman who was present.
"One of the burglaries was at the house of an elderly and vulnerable couple, whose lives would have been devastated by the intrusion on their premises. They will have felt violated. Every person who suffers a burglary feels insecurity about their home and is often scared. With elderly people it is 10 times worse.
"You are a committed and prolific burglar with four previous convictions for numerous offences of this sort. I have to think of the impact these offences have on those whose houses you have entered."
David Bowen, prosecuting, said all the offences took place in October or November and included the theft of charity boxes from both secure and insecure areas of the hospital.
The offences took place a few weeks after he was released from a 29-month sentence for 30 burglaries. Nigel Wraith, defending, said Morgan needed help to overcome his drug addiction. He said he deserved credit for admitting all of his offences after he was arrested at the deaf school.
Mr Wraith said: "He did not intend to burgle the house where the woman occupier was alone. When he becomes aware someone is in a house, he leaves. He is not a man without a brain. This is a cry for help."