DNA evidence linking a man to two “opportunist” thefts from vehicles parked in Crowland resulted in him being jailed for nine weeks.
Carl Edwards (21) left a screwdriver at the scene in Glebe Gardens, which he had stolen from a toolbox in one vehicle and used to break into another.
He made off with a number of items, including cash and a car stereo worth £355 belonging to David Beeken, and 200 cigarettes valued at £55.80 belonging to David Elms.
Edwards pleaded guilty to two charges of theft from a motor vehicle when he appeared at Spalding Magistrates’ Court on Thursday.
Jill Darby, prosecuting, said the vehicles had been on the roadside overnight on September 17-18.
She said Edwards had been linked to the screwdriver by his DNA but he initially denied the offences and claimed he had been with his mother.
However, Mrs Darby told the court text messages had been recovered showing she had texted him that evening so he could not have been with her.
Jeremy Roberts, defending, said Edwards had not committed a crime since June 2009 before this offence, and had since had a third child.
He said Edwards, who was unemployed when the thefts occurred, had also secured a job three days a week. He told the court Edwards would be able to pay compensation from this income.
Mr Roberts urged the court to consider unpaid work as a punishment.
Mr Roberts said: “He decided to change his plea at a late stage but he accepts that he has to accept the blame.”
He added: “The two cars were unlocked. They were opportunist thefts on the same evening.
“It should not have happened.”
Presiding magistrate Robert Chapman said Edwards, of Charles Street, Peterborough, may have received a suspended sentence if he were a first-time offender, but there was evidence that he would not comply with a community order as he “had not so many times in the past”.
Edwards was told he will serve nine weeks in prison for each of the offences, to run concurrently.
No compensation or costs were awarded.