A JUDGE had branded lack of police action in arresting a prolific burglar as a "disgrace".

In March last year police had Graham Llewellwyn's palm print taken from the scene of a house break in Rochdale.

But police did not arrest him and Llewellwyn went on to break into the homes of two elderly women at Cox Green Road in September and Hulton Lane in October last year.

He was finally arrested after his DNA was found in blood at the scene of the later burglaries.

"The householders can have the knowledge, it won't be to their liking, that their houses were burgled by a man who was known to police already with a bad record and known to have committed a burglary in Rochdale. Police did nothing whatever until after he had burgled their properties," said Judge Timothy Stead.

Sentencing 30-year-old Llewellwyn to four years and eight months in prison, Judge Stead told him: "The general public will be outraged at your conduct.

"You are a career burglar — that is what you do to make your way in the world. The public expect considerable punishment to be levied on someone like you and that is what I intend to do. It is a situation no less than disgraceful that you were at liberty to commit the second and third burglaries."

Llewellwyn, of Lindfield Drive Bolton, pleaded guilty to three counts of burglary and one of possessing cannabis, which was found on him when he was arrested.

David Farley, prosecuting, told the court how Llewellwyn, who started his burglary career aged 11, broke into a house in Kings Road, Rochdale on December 19, 2018 stealing computer games, jewellery and a car key. Police obtained a match to a palm print from the scene in March.

Then, during the day on September 23 Llewellwyn broke into the home of a 73-year-old woman in Cox Green Road while she was out at an art class.

Among the items taken was a diamond engagement ring, locket and other jewellery left to her by her mother.

On October 7 an 84-year-old woman returned to her house in Hulton Lane to find the back door off its hinges and her home ransacked, with £400 in cash and Euros taken.

Martyn Walsh, defending, told the court that Llewellwyn had been committing crime to help pay his younger brother's drug debts.

"He tells me that when he is released he will, again, try to change his ways," said Mr Walsh.