A 34-year-old man with 126 previous convictions who stole a safe and tools worth £17,000 from an east Suffolk garage has been jailed for 16 months.

Sentencing Leroy Clarke, Judge Emma Peters said the owner of the garage had worked hard to build up his business up over 24 years and people like Clarke made it so much harder for him to make a living.

She told Ipswich Crown Court it was a tragedy that a relatively young man like Clarke had 126 previous convictions.

Clarke, of no fixed address but formerly of Ipswich, admitted burglary at Middleton Garage in Leiston Road, in Middleton near Saxmundham, and driving while disqualified.

In addition to being jailed, he was banned from driving for 38 months.

Clarke, formerly of Ipswich, was jailed for 16 monthsClarke, formerly of Ipswich, was jailed for 16 months (Image: Suffolk police)

Judge Peters said she would have liked to have awarded the garage owner compensation but she said Clarke had been on universal credit and did not have any money to pay.

Ipswich Crown Court heard that in May this year the owner of the garage arrived at the premises to find a door had been forced open and a safe had been forcibly removed from a wall.

A cash tin containing about £50 and 28 tools worth about £17,000 in total had also been stolen in the raid.

The court heard that the previous month Clarke had been seen driving a Skoda in Wickham Market in April while he was banned from driving.

Peter Spary, for Clarke, said many of the items stolen from the village garage were quite small, including code readers.

He said his client had been desperate for money when he committed the burglary earlier this year.