A “career” burglar who knocked on front doors to check if properties were empty before breaking into them has been jailed for five years.
James Sprayson, 42, went on a huge burglary spree when he smashed his way into 41 homes across Birmingham in just two years.
The crook would knock on the doors of homes and then make his way inside by throwing a brick through patio doors if nobody answered.
If homeowners came to the door Sprayson would pretend he was lost and ask for directions.
He was eventually caught on November 16 last year after droplets of blood were recovered by forensic experts outside a property he had broken into.
Police used DNA which provided a match for Sprayson and after he was arrested he took officers on a “drive-by” tour of the area to pinpoint other properties he had burgled.
Sprayson, from Hall Green, Birmingham, was jailed for five years at Birmingham Crown Court on Friday after pleading guilty to two burglaries.
He also asked for another 39 break-ins to be taken into consideration.
Speaking after the case, Detective Constable Arron Cox, from West Midlands Police CID, said: “If ever there was someone the phrase ‘career criminal’ was applicable it would be Sprayson, but he can also expect to spend long periods of that ‘career’ behind bars.
“His tactic was to knock the door of homes he believed may be empty.
“If someone answered he’d make up an excuse, like asking for directions, but if no-one answered he would try to break in.
“His entry methods were rudimentary and often involved throwing a brick, rock or whatever he could lay his hands on through rear patio doors.
“Sprayson targeted small electrical items, gadgets and jewellery items he could quickly sell to fund a heroin addiction.
“The homes of people living in Solihull and east Birmingham are much safer with Sprayson locked up.”