A CAREER criminal was told he became "nothing less than a one man crime wave" as a judge jailed him for 26 months.

Steven Ian Michael Catling was sentenced at Bournemouth Crown Court after admitting a total of 31 offences.

Catling's crimes include a spate of shoplifting around £4,000 worth of goods from convenience stores, supermarkets and a petrol garage.

He also committed burglaries, assaults, public order offences and had a phone in prison during a previous custodial term.

Judge Robert Pawson told Catling, 30, he had "an appalling record as a career criminal" – 39 convictions for 102 offences.

"Over six or seven months you were nothing less than a one man crime wave," the judge said.

"Enough is enough Mr Catling. The shops and retail outlets of east Dorset and west Hampshire deserve a break from you.

"They are under enough pressure as it is."

A hearing on March 19 was told the offences took place in Bournemouth, Swanage, Fordingbridge, Ringwood, Lymington and Dorchester.

Prosecuting, Michael Mason outlined Catling's offending in chronological order, starting with him having a phone while inside HMP Exeter in September 2020.

The defendant's spate of crimes began in earnest in February 2020 and concluded in early January of this year before he was finally remanded into custody.

Over these 11 months, he committed 18 thefts from Sainsbury's, Co-op, Marks and Spencer, Tesco, Waitrose, Boots, TK Maxx, a BP Garage and a bus while it was at Royal Bournemouth Hospital.

Four offences of common assault occurred during three of the shoplifting incidents, while he committed a public order harassment offence during another.

Mr Mason said on February 28, 2020, Catling, of no fixed abode, was abusive towards staff at Lloyds Pharmacy in Holdenhurst Road, Bournemouth, after they refused to serve him as he had arrived five minutes later than permitted to collect his drug script.

On Christmas Eve last year he committed criminal damage at M&S in Westbourne.

Catling's two burglaries took place at Robert Dyas in Bournemouth on January 3, when he also assaulted a police officer, and a BP Garage in Dorchester on October 18, 2020, when he went into a staff only area.

The prosecutor said the defendant also failed to comply with supervision requirements on several occasions following a previous prison release.

During one of his crimes, Catling told shop staff "I have nothing to lose".

Mitigating, Rob Griffiths said Catling, previously of Bath Road, Bournemouth, was an "intelligent and articulate" man, who told him that "I don't want this (offending) to be my life".

Mr Griffiths said the defendant went on to say: "If I am given the chance, I will do the right thing."

Judge Pawson said the defendant's challenging upbringing in care eventually led to a drug addiction which could provide an "explanation but not a justification" for his criminal record.

Catling was warned by the judge that if was not able to turn the corner following his release from custody, the prison sentences would start to climb steadily.