A CAREER burglar left a family devastated when he broke into their Royal Wootton Bassett home and swiped the keys to their 66-plate Mercedes.

Frankie O’Dwyer, 20, later filmed himself speeding in the expensive car and uploaded the footage to social media site Snapchat. The vehicle was recovered in Slough.

He was jailed for three years and nine months on Tuesday after admitting burglary and theft. He asked for 15 other offences to be taken into consideration.

In a victim statement read to Swindon Crown Court, the homeowner said the break-in at her home in Westbury Park had destroyed her and her life would never be the same again.

She said: “Imagine waking up one morning to your whole world being turned upside down. That is exactly what happened to us.”

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald:

Frankie O'Dwyer Picture: WILTSHIRE POLICE

Prosecutor Mark Ashley told the court that the woman’s partner had woken at around 5.45am on December 15, 2020, to find that the dog was missing. He then noticed that the family’s Mercedes, which he described as his pride and joy, was gone.

The thieves had swiped the keys to the Mercedes and another vehicle, bank cards, £15 cash and a bag. It was not suggested they had stolen the dog.

Mr Ashley said: “The police were called and whilst they were waiting for the police it is right they went out to look for their dog and on their walk they found some of the items, I think a purse and her son’s schoolbag.”

The Mercedes had a tracker fitted to it and the vehicle was traced to Slough. A family member also spotted video on Snapchat showing the car being driven at speed.

“When Mr O’Dwyer was arrested on December 17, his telephone was found with him. It was clearly his phone because it had selfies on it but it also had the photographs and video footage of him driving it,” Mr Ashley said.

O’Dwyer answered no comment to all questions put to him in interview.

The court heard he had asked for 15 other burglaries and attempted burglaries to be taken into consideration. They included break-ins at Dobbies garden centre, Ramsbury House and homes across Swindon. He stole more than £50,000-worth of items, including a car, jewellery and push bikes.

Appearing before the court from HMP Bullingdon, O’Dwyer, formerly of Baydon, near Marlborough, pleaded guilty to burglary and theft.

He had previous convictions for burglary in 2016, 2017 and most recently in 2019. The young man was given three years’ imprisonment two years ago.

O’Dwyer had been released on licence 27 days before the first burglary he asked Judge Peter Crabtree to take into consideration.

Mitigating, George Threlfall said: “The depressing thing about this case is that Frankie O’Dwyer is still only 20 years old. He will accept he has a depressingly long record for someone of his age and indeed the first six matters listed in his antecedents occurred whilst he was 14, the next five while he was 15 and so it goes on.”

He added: “I asked Mr O’Dwyer was it excitement that made him commit these [burglaries]? He said ‘no, I just want to live a normal life and it is hard to get a job with my previous convictions and I do need money’.”

The defendant was an intelligent man, the court heard.