A BURGLAR who stole two cars and thousands of pounds of electrical equipment in a bid to pay off a debt to a loan shark has been jailed for more than 20 months.

Azhar Hussain stole an Audi from the driveway of a house in Chartridge Lane, Chesham, after taking the keys when he threw a concrete slab through a window and broke in.

Days later the 27-year-old tried to sell the car to a scrap dealer.

But after becoming suspicious the scrapyard contacted the police, Aylesbury Crown Court heard today.

Police went to Hussain's house in Sibleys Rise, South Heath, after he gave his mobile phone number and address to the scrap dealer.

While searching his home they noticed the Audi's keys were underneath his bedroom window, which was open.

During the break-in Hussain also took car documents, a TV, Nintendo Wii console, two laptops and a watch.

The offence took place on May 22 – when Hussain was on bail for taking another car in Birmingham three months previously.

The court heard Hussain, who has nine convictions for 21 offences dating back to when he was 13 years old, also broke into a barn on March 10, where he stole £6,000 worth of chainsaws and other power tools.

Hussain had pleaded guilty to taking the car in Birmingham at an earlier hearing, and asked for the barn burglary to be taken into consideration today. He pleaded guilty to charges of burglary and theft of a motor vehicle today – having initially pleaded not guilty to the theft. He changed his plea after consulting with his barrister.

The items stolen from the house were worth £2,910, the court heard. The car was found 250 metres away from Hussain's home.

John Brown, for the defence, said Hussain had moved to Birmingham in 2007 after being released from prison. He had been unable to find permanent work and decided to move back to the Chesham area to find a job.

Mr Brown said this was “the biggest mistake of his life” - and after failing to hold down a full-time job he borrowed £200 from a loan shark.

After being unable to pay off the debt, Hussain was asked to take a car from Birmingham to High Wycombe. While driving to Buckinghamshire he was arrested and charged with taking the car without consent.

This meant the debt still hadn't been cleared.

Mr Brown said: “On May 22 he makes the decision to go out with another person with the intention of committing the burglary in an attempt to sell a car and pay back the loan shark.

“In no way is it put forward as an excuse, but he found himself in a situation and took the deplorable decision in order to rectify that.

“This was not a professional pre-planned operation.”

Passing sentence, Judge Christopher Tyrer said: “I have listened to your explanation that you found yourself under pressure from someone from whom you had borrowed money.

“But the opportunity was there, fairly and squarely, when you were arrested on February 27 for you to explain to the police the trouble you were in so they could steps to extricate you from it.”

He added Hussain was “unfortunately” given bail and went on to commit the other offences – with the Chartridge Lane burglary being witnessed by a 13-year-old.

Judge Tyrer said: “He described himself as being very scared. He had the good sense and prudence to tell his mother what he had seen so steps could be taken to tell the police.”

For the burglary he was jailed for 18 months and for the theft of the car from Birmingham he was imprisoned for another 12 weeks. He was also banned from driving for 12 months.

Judge Tyrer told Hussain: “At 27, it is high time you took stock to keep out of trouble.”