TWO Dudley crooks with more than 225 previous convictions on their records have been locked up for nearly eight years for clocking up more crimes in the Brierley Hill and Stourbridge areas.

Philip Billingham raided a house in Amblecote Road and took property worth over £2,500 but he left muddy footprints behind on the landing of the property.

The 36-year-old who caused £150 damage smashing his way into the house was arrested by police and his trainers were found to match the footprints - Oliver Woolhouse, prosecuting, said.

He said Billingham and 39-year-old Timothy Roberts also tried to get into a bungalow in Brompton Drive where they smashed a hole in a patio door window with a centre punch.

But the two men were spotted by a neighbour who quickly alerted police and they were arrested after a short foot chase.

Roberts also went to a gold buyer at the Merry Hill centre and he sold jewellery taken in a raid on a house in Heathfield Gardens for £900 while a games console stolen in the same burglary was found when his home was searched.

Billingham, of Blackacre Road, Dixons Green, admitted burglary, attempted burglary and going equipped and he was put behind bars for four years.

Roberts, of Corporation Road, Kates Hill, admitted attempted burglary and handling stolen property and he was jailed for three years, eight months.

Judge Martin Walsh told the two men: "You have both got appalling criminal records and it is quite clear you have both had serious drug problems."

Mr Woolhouse told Wolverhampton Crown Court that Roberts had 133 other offences on his criminal record including burglary, going equipped, aggravated vehicle taking and theft while Billingham had 94 other similar previous convictions.

Jas Mann, defending Roberts, said he had been dogged by his drug addiction for many years, adding: "Class A drugs have been his downfall. His life has been ruined by drugs."

Nicholas Smith, for Billingham - a father-of-one, told the court his drug habit was behind his offending but he was now determined to put his life in order on his release from custody.