A sneaky rooftop raider who admitted a $280,000 jewel heist has today been jailed for more than two years.

Craig Murray Shaw crept on to the roof of The Tannery, a Victorian-style shopping complex in the Christchurch suburb of Woolston, on the night of Saturday, November 25 last year.

The 43-year-old slipped in through a rooftop skylight and smashed his way into Mehmet Bavram's La Bu jewellery shop, which specialises in Turkish and Middle Eastern unique handmade sterling silver and semi-precious stone jewellery.

Police said about 2700 items were stolen, including rings, ear-rings, bracelets and pendants, valued at $280,000.

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Detectives soon suspected Shaw but it took months to track him down.

An anonymous tip-off led them to a property where Shaw was staying on January 21.

During a search of the address, police say they found "physical evidence linking [Shaw] directly to this offence", according to a summary of facts at Christchurch District Court.

Shaw helped lead police to recover about 1700 pieces of stolen jewellery, valued at $176,000, dumped in a bag at the Memorial Park Cemetery in Bromley.

Shaw was charged and later admitted one charge of burglary.

Police sought an order from the court for $104,000 in reparation to be paid to La Bu for the unrecovered stolen property, and another $2000 to The Tannery for damage caused during the break-in.

Judge Tom Gilbert, however, said given Shaw's circumstances as reparation order was "completely unrealistic".

The victim, Mehmet Bavram, emigrated to New Zealand about seven years ago and "poured everything" into his business, the judge said, with the hope of leaving a legacy for his children.

"You have spoiled all of that," Judge Gilbert told Shaw, who has 24 previous convictions for burglary.

Judge Gilbert jailed Shaw for two years and two months, noting that he had caused "an enormous amount of loss".