A CROOK “at the end of his tether” burgled a car and other items from his own foster family.

James Brooks broke into the home in Wickford and stole a Fiat 500, plus £1,000 worth of goods, and later attempted to cover up the car theft by putting on new registration plates.

The 24-year-old went to the house in Swan Lane on January 7 this year, forced his way in and stole the items, plus the keys to the car, which was estimated to be worth around £7,000.

Two days later, police were conducting mobile patrols in Basildon when they spotted the defendant and another man knelt down next to a Fiat 500, with Brooks pushing a numberplate onto the car.

He told officers that the car was his and he had bought it two weeks ago, but police checks found it was the stolen car, and the items inside were those stolen during the burglary.

A bag of cannabis was also found.

Brooks, of Long Riding, Basildon, later admitted to the police he had taken the car but “was going to give it back”.

He admitted burglary, theft, fraud and possession of cannabis and was sentenced at Basildon Crown Court on Thursday.

Mitigation said that Brooks had reached “the end of his tether” and had no hope to find finances or accommodation and he was hoping to sleep in that car and not use it.

Judge Andrew Hurst lambasted Brooks, saying burglaries “stay with victims for a long time”.

He said: “What you did in January by burgling your foster parents home was completely wrong.

“You took property from them and you took the car keys. What that means is you worked your way through someone else’s property when you were not to be there and that’s a huge invasion of their privacy.

“They can sometimes never get over it.

“They were very upset.”

Crook was given a six month suspended prison sentence.