A Winchester man who broke into a warehouse, scattering potentially lethal asbestos and causing an estimated £142,000 of damage, has been jailed.

Paul Wild, 41, of Hyde Gate, was sentenced to nine months in prison for burgling a warehouse on September 7, 2023.

The court was told how he removed tiles from the roof of a Marks and Spencer warehouse on Tanner Street, Winchester and fell through the ceiling.

In doing so he spread asbestos around the building, damaging the merchandise and endangering workers' health, said Ms Rachel Standish, prosecuting.

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Ms Standish told the court that Wild was also arrested later the same day for another burglary.

He was arrested again five days later and found to be in possession of a knife in Parchment Street.

He has a history of heroin addiction and was found to have the drug in his system when he was arrested last September.

Wild also caused damage to the prison cell he was being held in by stuffing a mattress down the toilet in an attempt to flood his cell.

Wild pleaded guilty to all three offences.

The judge, Mr Recorder B Newton, told Wild: “You are now 41 years of age; you have been convicted of 72 offences."

Tom Acworth, mitigating, argued that Wild should be shown leniency because the two previous knife offences were some time ago.

Citing court delays, Mr Acworth said: “Given the way in which these cases have progressed through the criminal justice system, Your Honour might give him a suspended sentence.”

Mr Recorder Newton agreed that Wild’s sentence for carrying a knife should be reduced due to the long interval since his last offences of the same nature.

After sentencing, the judge said: “I wish you the best for the end of your sentence.”

For the burglaries, the offender received six months in custody. Wild's sentence was reduced because he did not intend to cause the level of damage.

For being in possession of a knife, he was handed a reduced sentence of 3 months.