A SERIAL burglar was jailed for a raid on a Hampshire home after one of the stolen items was spotted on sale online.

Officers tracked down Christopher Woodcock after an advert for an expensive trial bike, taken during the burglary, appeared on Gum Tree.

During a court hearing, prosecutor James Kellam said the advert for the Cervelo bike, worth “several thousand”, stood out like a “sore thumb”.

Police contacted the seller, who gave them Woodcock’s details. The 43-year-old was later arrested.

He admitted the burglary, before tipping police off about his involvement in a further 11 offences.

Serial offender Woodcock, who has spent more than half his life in prison, has now been jailed again.

The court heard how Woodcock raided a home in Pennington, near Lymington, in January.

As well as the time-trial bike, he stole cycling accessories and jewellery, including a watch.

Mr Kellam said that although the owners were out at the time, the burglary had been “stressful” and left the young family feeling unsafe in their home.

Defending Woodcock, Berenice Mulvanny admitted he would be seen as an “institutionalised” criminal.

“He is not a man who has given up trying to improve himself,” she added.

Ms Mulvanny said that Woodcock’s relapse into crime was sparked by the death of his grandmother and a “miserable Christmas”.

She accepted her client faced jail, as Woodcock had breached a three-strike burglary rule – triggering a minimum sentence of three years.

But she asked judge Peter Henry to keep it as “short as possible”.

Sentencing Woodcock to four-and-a-half years, Judge Peter Henry noted his “appalling record”.

“I haven’t totted up the number of burglaries but it is a huge number,” he said.

Judge Henry added: “I accept that this incident took place in the day time and the owners were not in so it is not in the most serious category of offences.

“But it is, nonetheless, extremely distressing for the victims.

Judge Henry added: “It has been very stressful for the family, who have now installed cameras. And I can’t ignore the fact that there are 11 other offences you want me to take into consideration.”

Woodcock, of no fixed abode, was also ordered to pay a victim surcharge.