When Vernon Scott Ellison does a burglary he takes as much as he can. He also leaves something behind - his fingerprints.

But when police told him the prints on his hands matched evidence from the burglary of a retired Napier couple's home in late 2016, he denied anything to do with it and claimed police "made it up," Judge Geoff Rea was told yesterday in Napier District Court.

Ellison, 46, did, however, eventually cough and after pleading guilty to two charges of burglary was sentenced to 22 and a half months' jail, with post-sentence supervision for another six months, for what Judge Bridget Mackintosh described as an "unfortunate" consequence of his returning to his old ways after a time apparently without any offending.

The Judge noted he now has 20 burglary convictions to his name, defence counsel Nicola Graham noting that 16 of them were on the table when he was sentenced to four years' jail in 2010.

He admitted the latest offences, that of the couple's home in Tom Parker Ave, Marewa, on the night of November 25-26, 2016, and an unsuccessful raid on another house in Osier Rd, Greenmeadows, on the night of January 8 this year, when he was blocked by an internal door between a laundry and the rest of the house.

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In the 2016 raid he took thousands of dollars worth of sound system components, and other items including a fish smoker, but left his fingerprints behind on a cabinet he moved to enable him to remove more of the items.

The items were not recovered and yesterday Ellison was ordered to pay $300 reparation, to reimburse the couple for their insurance excess.