A BURGLAR who broke into people's homes at night envisaged himself as an SAS soldier.
Matthew Crank, 21, of Denbigh Street, Chester, was compared by his barrister to the fictional fantasist figure Walter Mitty.
Crank pleaded guilty at Chester Crown Court to breaking into two homes and attempting to burgle his next door neighbour.
Maria Massellis, prosecuting, said Crank's crimes happened on the same evening of Friday, June 17. First he broke into a student house in Bouverie Street which was divided into seven bedrooms, each with its own lock.
Student Victoria Herron had gone to bed about midnight when the break-in occurred. Four other females were sleeping in the house.
A downstairs window had been left ajar and Crank climbed in. He defecated on the bathroom floor before going upstairs.
In a second floor bedroom he stole a £40 DVD player belonging to one of the female students who had gone away and had left the door unlocked.
He then went down to the first floor and knocked on Miss Herron's door who let him in thinking he was one of her housemates. They didn't speak and it was only the next day, she realised a stranger had been in her room. Crank left fingerprints at the scene.
About 30 minutes later, Crank went to an address next door to his own property in Denbigh Street occupied by Rebecca Elliot. He tried to break in by the kitchen door before forcing a kitchen window. Miss Elliot was awoken by the commotion and shouted at the defendant through her bedroom window and he ran away. Crank left blood on the window.
The prosecution asked for another offence to be taken into consideration which the prosecution said had also been forensically linked to the defendant who admitted the offence even though he couldn't recall it.
Ms Massellis said Crank appeared to have climbed on a rear roof of a house in Denbigh Street before entering and taking items from a jewellery box which had not been recovered.
The barrister said the defendant had made a full admission when inter-viewed by police and described his motivation as 'thrill-seeking'.
She said probation reports indicated he envisaged himself as some kind of SAS soldier at the time.
Brett Williamson, defending counsel, said his client was 'quite a vulnerable character'. He had been worse for drink on the night in question. Mr Williamson said Crank was finding it difficult on remand at HMP Altcourse after being arrested on July 1.
Judge Stephen Clarke said in a statement the defendant had apologised to all his victims and said he was embarrassed and appalled at his behaviour which was 'uncharacteristic'.
Judge Clarke sentenced Crank to 12 months imprisonment but said he would serve half his sentence with the rest under supervision.