A man burgled his ex-girlfriend's house, took her car keys and wrote off her car, Swansea Crown Court heard today.

Lennon Hilton, 22, had previously admitted burglary of a dwelling with no violence, aggravated vehicle taking, driving otherwise than in accordance with a licence and driving without insurance.

The court heard that he entered the property of his ex-girlfriend in Ystradgynlais in the early hours of October 4 last year.

He took his her spare car keys and drove off in her Vauxhall Corsa. He then crashed the vehicle into a bollard in the early hours of the morning. Writing it off and abandoning it on the street.

The first this his ex-girlfriend knew of this is when she was contacted by police and told that her car had been in an accident.

The court heard that £322 of damage had been caused to the bollard and that the car was a write off.

When she contacted Hilton, of Heol Gleien, Lower Cwmtwrch, he admitted taking the vehicle, apologised and said that he would pay for the damage.

In a victim personal statement Hilton’s ex-partner said that she was very upset about him entering her home when she was asleep. She had found it difficult to be without a car and was struggling to take one of her children to nursery and to get to the shops.

At that point she was having problems claiming off her insurance company.

The court heard that Hilton, who had no previous convictions, had since paid her £900 so that she could replace the car, getting into debt himself to do so.

Judge Mr Recorder J Powell KC was read a character reference by Hilton’s partner’s mother.

In it she said that he was the father of her three grandchildren and an excellent father, and that both her daughter and grandchildren needed him around.

She said that he had a kind and caring heart and had ‘come such a long way’ after a difficult childhood. He needed help so that he did not slip up occasionally.

“Your criminality has been severe for your victim and your children,” said Recorder Powell.

“I don’t want anybody to think that if they burgle somebody’s house in the middle of the night, steal their car and write it off that they won’t go to prison.

“It would be a prison sentence but for your personal mitigation.”

He handed down 12 months for the burglary and three months for the aggravated vehicle taking, to run consecutively, making a total of 15 months.

However, he suspended this sentence for two years and imposed 30 days of rehabilitation activity and a nine-month alcohol treatment requirement.

Hilton was also disqualified from driving for 18 months and ordered to pay a £187 victim surcharge.

“You are fortunate that it seems to me that I will do more good to your family by allowing your liberty,” said Recorder Powell. “This is your last chance.”