'Complete pest' admits to catalytic converters thefts worth £20,000 across Leicestershire
A "complete pest" who targeted vans to steal 18 catalytic converters, worth about £20,000, has been jailed.
Shane Mottram pleaded guilty to stealing two of the vehicle parts in March.
He voluntarily confessed to 16 other offences to the police, which he asked to be taken into consideration, along with five other theft-related offences.
Siward James-Moore, prosecuting, told Leicester Crown Court that one of the victims was targeted twice.
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Mottram, of Beaumont Leys Lane, Leicester, stole the catalytic converters from vans to pay for drugs.
The offences were committed in the county, including one in Mountsorrel.
At the scene of that theft, he unwittingly left a torch beside a victim's van with his fingerprints on it.
Mr James-Moore said: "It was examined and the defendant's fingerprints were found on it."
Mottram (29) was arrested and confessed to all his crimes, showing officers places in which he had stolen catalytic converters.
He said he had sold them all.
Mr James-Moore said that apart from the cost of replacing the stolen vehicle parts, many victims' businesses suffered while their vans were out of action.
He said: "The defendant told the police he appreciated how the victims were affected and he was very sorry.
"He told officers it was due to a temporary drugs relapse."
High court judge Mr Justice Flaux said: "He's a complete pest."
He told Mottram: "You were targeting vehicles for three or four months, which is an aggravating feature.
"You were led into a spree of offending because of drug taking."
Alexander Davies, mitigating, said: "He's lived under the dark shadow of heroin addiction in his life, since his teens.
"He then became clean.
"Unfortunately, during the course of these offences he found himself homeless, destitute and addicted to heroin – although that doesn't excuse the offences.
"Through seeking assistance voluntarily, he's kicked the habit again. He's been working in car valeting and enjoying earning an honest crust."
Mottram's motivation to stay clean of drugs was assisted by a supportive partner and a desire to set a good example to their young son, said Mr Davies.