A JUDGE branded a burglar "mean and despicable" after he broke into his friend's flat while they were on a night out together.

Appearing at Bolton Crown Court for sentencing, Rhys Partington, 19, was sentenced to 876 days in a young offenders' institute due to Judge Martin Walsh invoking the so-called 'third strike burglary' provision.

Simon Barrett, prosecuting, said Partington, of Crescent Road, Bolton, had gone to a friend's flat at The Croal apartment block with two other people on June 15 this year in preparation for a night out.

While the group were getting ready, the victim had noticed Partington going into his bedroom with another man before the friends left the address and went into Bolton town centre.

The group had met some women and become separated and after the victim tried to find his friends he decided to return home at around 3am where he found his flat had been broken into and a number of items including two X Box game consoles, two watches and a number of electrical items to the value of £800.

The victim immediately suspected his friend was involved and contacted the police who recovered CCTV footage that showed Partington and another man arriving at the flat without any items but leaving carrying them.

A number of the stolen items were also advertised for sale on social media and both X Boxes were recovered by friends of the victim posing as buyers.

Mr Barrett added that the victim was now "paranoid" and had "not been able to return to go back" to his home following the incident.

He added that Partington had committed the burglary while on license for a similar offence for which he had been sentenced to 961 days on July 9 2018.

The teenager had been released in April this tear but in May he had been convicted of aggravated vehicle taking and been sentenced to eight weeks imprisonment before being released and committing his latest crime.

Sentencing Partington, Judge Walsh said the burglary was "an appalling breach of trust against your friend".