A BURGLAR who stole a family’s Christmas presents and left them ‘living in fear’ has been jailed.

Colin Thompson broke into three Bicester houses and stole toys, cash and jewellery worth more than £4,300.

The 45-year-old was described as a former “professional burglar” who returned to crime after a 15-year break when he learned he would lose his driving job.

Thompson, pictured, of Long Close, Headington, struck three properties, two on the Greenwood estate and one in Manston Close, between October 12 and November 1.

He stole children’s Christmas presents including a Barbie and perfume gift sets, gold jewellery and watches, a wedding ring, passports, a safe containing £3,000 cash and a digital SLR camera.

None of his haul has been recovered.

Louise Oliver, 23, of Langford Village, said when Thompson broke into her parents’ home in Medina Gardens he even stole £400 from her son’s piggy bank.

She said: “I’m glad he’s off the streets, but I don’t believe he got long enough.

“He’s destroyed my family – my mum has got to the point where she is too scared to open the front door.

“Even the neighbours and their children are scared it could be their houses that get burgled next.

“And when he gets out in 12 months, what’s going to happen then?”

Thompson admitted three charges of burglary and was sentenced at Oxford Crown Court on Friday. He also asked for two previous Bicester burglaries in Kennedy Road and Byron Way to be taken into consideration.

The court heard Thompson had a string of previous convictions for theft and burglary dating back to 1978, but had managed to stay out of trouble since 1997.

Lucy Ffrench, defending, said until the end of last year a long-term relationship and regular employment had kept Thompson out of trouble.

She said: “He is a person who lacks confidence and was worried about the prospect of entering the job market.

“His family are in considerable financial difficulties since the end of October when his job came to an end.

“They have been living in a state of quite desperate poverty.”

She added that Thompson felt “disgusted” by what he had done and that was why he had not committed further burglaries before he was arrested.

Judge Thomas Corrie sentenced him to two years in prison for each of the three burglaries, to run at the same time.

He said: “You kept out of trouble for a long time and because of a good family relationship and because you found work.

“But you couldn’t control yourself and reverted to your old habits when things went wrong.

“You were a not very efficient professional burglar and unfortunately you have reverted to your old behaviour.”