A PROLIFIC Oxford thief who 'blighted the lives' of city residents has been given a final chance and will embark on a residential rehabilitation scheme.

Serial criminal James Lennon, dubbed the 'Headington door knocker,' was again at Oxford Crown Court today.

The 46-year-old of no fixed abode, who has 120 previous crimes to his name, mostly for theft, appeared to be sentenced after he admitted 33 more offences.

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Outlining the latest spree and three of the counts of theft prosecutor Julian Lynch said they all took place in Oxford last year.

On August 21 at Oxford University Sports Centre he snatched an unattended bag while the victim played hockey.

Among the items inside the bag was a driving licence, USBs and £50 cash.

A bank card was also taken which was later used to make small transactions.

On September 8 Lennon was at the Swan and Castle pub, Castle Street, where he stole a woman's bag.

Items taken from that theft included a French bank card, driving licence and ID card, as well as two gold rings.

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Transactions were again made using a stolen card at Tesco and KFC.

In October he was back at the Swan and Castle pub and snatched another bag, taking items including Canadian money and a bank card.

The court also heard yesterday that Lennon has what a judge described as a 'shocking' record of previous convictions, made up of 41 convictions for 120 offences.

68 of those offences are for theft crimes.

At the hearing Lennon also admitted 33 other offences for dishonesty crimes and asked that they be taken into consideration.

Speaking on behalf of Lennon probation officers said that he suffered from substance misuse problems.

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Sentencing, Judge Peter Ross said: "You are 46 years old, you have had a long history of drug abuse which has blighted your life now for many, many years.

"And it has blighted the lives of so many innocent people upon whom you have preyed, committing offences in order to raise money for your drug habit.

"You have a chance now which will never be repeated."

He said that if a non-rehabilitative course had been taken he would consider a jail term in the region of three years for the latest crimes.

Instead Judge Ross ordered a three-year community order for Lennon.

That order will include a three-year drug rehabilitation requirement and 25 rehabilitation activity requirement days.

He will also participate in a residential rehabilitation programme.