A “CAREER criminal” who raided a Ferndown hair salon to make money ahead of Christmas has been given a suspended sentence.

Vernon Davies, 46, of Clarence Park Road in Bournemouth, broke into Huttons Hair Design in the early hours of Thursday, December 6, last year, as reported in the Daily Echo.

He stole a number of items, including TV screens and cash set aside for a staff Christmas party, worth around £4,900.

Carolyn Branford-Wood, prosecuting, said the thief also caused damage that cost the salon owners £1,300 to repair. The attack came just months after owners of 16 years Tanya and Dave Hutton spent thousands of pounds revamping the premises.

Rob Griffiths, mitigating, said: “It was Christmas time and he wanted some money so he went out and committed a burglary. Other people would save up but that’s not how he operates. This was not a terribly sophisticated operation.”

Davies, who has 19 convictions for burglary dating from 1977, including seven in non-dwellings, was caught by fingerprints left on plastic bin liners in the salon. He pleaded guilty to the offence.

“He must have known he would be on record,” said Mr Griffiths.

“He is familiar with institutional life and it causes him no problems.”

Judge Peter Johnson said Davies had an “unenviable record”.

“I have no doubt that you have caused a great deal of upset and distress to the owner, and I have no doubt there will be concerns which remain in the mind and continue to remain in the mind as to whether it might happen again,” he said.

The judge said he faced a “stark choice”, but a pre-sentence report had suggested there may be “green shoots” of change in Davies.

He sentenced Davies to 12 months in prison, suspended for 18 months, as well as 200 hours of unpaid work.