NOTORIOUS thief Ben Fone is behind bars after a ten-year trail of petty crime across Torbay.
Police say that amphetamine user Fone, who has been arrested and held in police custody 40 times, has been a 'thorn in our sides' for years.
Detectives say 24-year-old Fone, from Torquay, has been in and out of custody, prison and bail hostels since the age of 14.
A total of 126 crimes have been logged against him, but detectives say that is just perhaps the tip of the iceberg. They suspect he has been responsible for many more car break-ins and burglaries to fund his amphetamine habit.
Fone was caught red-handed breaking into a car on a police covert capture camera car in Upper Morin Road, Paignton, as part of the highly successful pre-Christmas Operation Reindeer.
Fone had also broken into a van in Tor Hill Road, Torquay, where he stole a phone and wallet with total value of £560.
Fone, who has previously been banned from parts of Torbay under an ASBO, was recognised instantly by police when they viewed the film from the car.
At Exeter Crown Court, Fone admitted two thefts and possession of amphetamines and cannabis and was jailed for a total of 15 months.
He was already subject to a suspended sentence for a bizarre theft from a neighbour's flat at the Newton Road hostel, in which he moved all his property into his own room.
The shocked victim went to investigate and suffered a feeling of déjà vu when he looked around the room and was confronted by all his own possessions, including bedding and television.
Det Sgt Jason Metcalfe said: "Ben Fone was caught employing covert techniques and the covert capture car following a series of offences in the Paignton area.
"During Operation Reindeer we were targeting suspects in relation to theft from motor vehicles.
"Fone was given every opportunity to assist with the police to try to get his life back in order by working with our turnaround team but he has consistently thrown this back in our faces and chosen not to co-operate.
"Fone was also found in possession of apmphetamines. Again, we have offered him help to try to deal with his drug use problem via the Turnaround Team and he refused any help.
"Amphetamine use goes hand in hand with acquisitive crime. He steals to fund his habit. Also amphetamines are a stimulant which keeps users up all night."
Det Insp Nick Wilden said: "Fone has been a thorn in our side for some time. He has been in and out of prison all his adult life.
"He has 126 crimes against him and those are just the ones we know about. He is the kind of criminal we have been targeting because we know that until we have put them in prison they will keep on offending."