A crook forced his way into houses and stole almost £20,000 worth of goods in order to help fund his crack cocaine habit.
Peter Winks, who it is even claimed sifted through one of his victim’s late mum’s ashes, was snared after his DNA was found on the windows of properties he broke into between December last year and January this year.
The 39-year-old, a prolific offender, was jailed for almost four years at Dundee Sheriff Court.
Winks was part of a larger crime gang who had targeted several properties across the Broughty Ferry area.
Among the hoard of items Winks made off with included electronics, medical equipment, jewellery, passports and even piggy banks.
The court heard that more than £15,000 worth of goods have not been recovered.
Gail McCabe, whose home on Sutherland Crescent was among those targeted, said: “He’s put us through a lot, stolen sentimental things which belong to my mum that I’ll never get back.
“He also went through my dead mum’s ashes.
“It’s the stress and anxiety that it puts you through as well. It’s the thought of what would have happened if I had caught him.
Winks first broke into a property on Duntrune Terrace and police carrying out inquiries in relation to other properties discovered the rear glass door had been smashed.
A torch, a hammer and screwdriver not belonging to the property were also discovered as well as a bag with medical equipment.
Fiscal depute Saima Rasheed said DNA belonging to Winks was found on the rear window with his break-in causing over £370 worth of damage.
A family who lived on the same street also had their home targeted by the crook. They had travelled to Loch Ness for New Year celebrations but were called to return home by neighbours who noticed the lights were on in the house.
Property amounting to £7,055 was stolen, £2,2205 of which was recovered.
And the occupants of a third property on Fintry Place had also returned home to discover their house had been ransacked, with £10,210 of goods stolen and just £550 recovered.
Again his DNA was found on the window, and he was seen on CCTV selling a laptop at Cash Converters
At an address on Sutherland Crescent, the occupant returned items strewn across the property after it had been broken into. He made off with credit cards, alcohol, clothing, an iPad and jewellery.
It was revealed that the total amount not recovered by police was £15,605.
Winks, a prisoner of HMP Perth, pleaded guilty via video link to breaking into the first Duntrune Terrace property with the intent of stealing between December 22-January 2.
Winks committed the break-in at Sutherland Crescent on January 16.
Between December 29-January 1, Winks stole, among dozens of items, medical equopment, a television, a computer, a bike, a bottles of alcohol, power drills, an angle grinder, electrical equipment, passports, jewellery, hair straighteners, earphones and a magnum of champagne.
He also stole bags, wallets, piggy banks, car keys, a watch, a laptop, a games console and five bottles of whisky from a property on January 12 on Fintry Place.
Sheriff Drummond jailed Winks for a total of 45 months.