A BURGLAR who scaled scaffolding to access an Oxford building was thwarted by a baffled neighbour.

Nathan Dorsett, 34, was seen shimmying up a construction pole in St John Street, near the Ashmolean Museum, and dropping into an under-construction house.

The burglary took place at about 3am on August 22, and he admitted he was hoping to steal power tools.

At his sentencing yesterday, Oxford Crown Court heard how a neighbour, who was struggling to sleep due to illness, saw someone on the scaffolding across the road and woke her husband.

He watched the man for a few minutes and, when it became clear he was trespassing, rang 999.

The witness said he then saw a torch beam search the site, which vanished as police 'surrounded' the house.

Dorsett, of Grove Lane in Birmingham, was seen by an officer jumping from a first-floor balcony, and he was arrested at the scene.

The court heard he had accrued 32 convictions in his lifetime - most recently in July, also for a burglary.

Defending, Peter Du Feu said: "There is a real risk that this man could become institutionalised, going back and forth from prison.

"Due to his offending and lifestyle, he is estranged from most of his family, and he knows that's his fault.

"He is an intelligent and thoughtful young man who knows he can do better."

He said Dorsett had a gambling problem and this, paired with alcohol and drug use, was a factor.

Judge Ian Pringle noted Dorsett had 'almost as many convictions as years he has spent on this planet'.

Turning to the defendant, who appeared via video link from HMP Bullingdon, he said: "You have a truly dreadful record, particularly in relation to burglaries.

"You are likely to keep going in and out of prison for the rest of your life unless you do something about it."

He sentenced Dorsett to eight months in prison, and said he must serve half before being released on parole.

He will also be made to pay a victim surcharge.