A PROLIFIC conman has been jailed for stealing from the people of Oxford just two days after being given a second chance for his six-month crime spree.

Notorious thief James Lennon - dubbed the 'Headington Door Knocker' - was originally handed a community penalty by magistrates after a string of thefts spanning the city in November.

In those four incidents of fraud the 45-year old preyed on the generosity of the public claiming to have been locked out of his house before taking money and disappearing into the night.

At that sentencing hearing at Oxford Magistrates' Court he was handed a 32-week jail term, suspended for 18 months, after it was claimed he was turning over a new leaf and was committed to tackling his offending.

But at the same court yesterday that sentence was activated and he was taken to prison after it was revealed he had stolen again two days later to fund his drugs habit.

Lennon admitted at the court three counts of theft as well as breaching his suspended sentence and post-sentence supervision requirements.

READ AGAIN: His first brush with the law

Detailing the latest series of offences, prosecutor Katie Jeans said that Lennon's first theft was carried out on November 22 when he went to the Oxford Brookes University Sports Centre, Cheney Lane.

Lennon was holding a black rucksack and when he entered he saw a row of bags that had been left unattended.

He dropped his own bag and picked up one of the others, which he later found contained nearly £1,000 worth of expensive electrical items including a laptop, clothing and a bank card.

Lennon pawned off the items at U-Play, Cowley Road, before returning again to the sports centre on November 27 and stealing another bag, with items inside totalling about £300.

His third and final theft took place at Waitrose, Oxford, on December 17 when he stole meat items valued at £150.

In a victim personal statement read to the court by his first victim, named in court as Mr James, he said that he now felt 'unsafe' and 'insecure' living in Oxford and that the computer had contained valuable research which was yet to be recovered.

In mitigation his defence barrister Jayne Wilkinson said that her client, who is homeless, was living in the St Clement's area of Oxford at the time and had a 'legitimate' reason for going inside the sports centre, but that the temptation to steal was too great.

She said: "It is where he can use the washing and the facilities. He is seen to walk in to the sports centre and responsible people have left their bags lying where seating area is.

"This is no criticism of those people but I am sure there are lockers available. Mr Lennon says he goes there and the temptation to pick up one of the bags was too great.

"Then he is back on November 27 and it is exactly the same."

She added that at the time he was using drugs and had had a breakdown in the relationship with his mother, with whom he had been temporarily staying.

ALSO READ: Another victim scammed by the Headington Door Knocker

Urging the court to consider another non-custodial option Ms Wilkinson said: "It is right that Mr Lennon has a long history of drug use, it is right that he has a long history of associated offences of dishonesty.

"What is also right is that for the relatively recent past Mr Lennon has been dealt with by way of custodial sentences. When people go into custody for a relatively short period of time there is no therapeutic [programmes] at all.

"There is work that can be done, that the probation service were happy to do with Mr Lennon before these new offences."

Despite her pleas presiding magistrate Anne Pappenheim said that in light of the breach of the previous orders a jail term had to be imposed.

She said: "You have a long history of previous thefts and this was committed only two days after you were here in court."

Lennon was jailed for a total of 48 weeks - made up of 16 weeks for the first theft, eight weeks for the second, and two weeks for the third, all to run concurrently with each other, and consecutive to the 32 weeks jail term for the initial four counts of fraud.