BURGLARS stole a luxury watch, gold bullion bars, Bollinger champagne, and even a Christmas tree from city centre businesses.

Andrew Thompson and John Kilpatrick raided the firms in Ship Street in Brighton.

They scaled scaffolding outside the Ask Italian restaurant and used gas cannisters and fire extinguishers as battering rams to break in.

They caused £4,000 criminal damage on top of their £7,000 haul.

The prolific duo have committed more than 250 offences between them.

They appeared at Hove Crown Court where Thompson was jailed for three years and seven months.

Meanwhile Kilpatrick’s sentencing was adjourned to see if he could complete an alcohol treatment programme on a suspended sentence, despite appearing in front of Judge Jeremy Hold QC in a “disgusting state” of drunkenness a day earlier.

Thompson, formerly known as Wayne Drinkell, admitted five counts of burglary and criminal damage.

In court the 40-year-old denied being Andrew Thompson, and instead gave his name as Sergeant Andrew Psycho Johnson, of North Road, Brighton.

Meanwhile 49-year-old Kilpatrick, also of North Road, admitted six counts including burglary, criminal damage and entering a building with intent to steal.

Naomi Edwards, prosecuting, said the offences took place at 4am on July 21 last year.

The duo climbed the scaffolding and used the gas cannisters to smash a communal door.

Inside Spyros Georgiou’s jewellery workshop they stole tools to help break in to other businesses, including Ask Italian, Mark Jordan jewellers and accountancy firm Hilton Sharp Clarke.

Mr Georgiou said his workshop was meant to be in a secluded and private place, but the burglary has left him in fear.

He said: “I feel disgusted by the people who could carry

out an act that could jeopardise my business for their own selfish gain.”

Meanwhile Mark Jordan found his office was trashed, with £3,000 damage to a secure door.

He said: “I understand people can be desperate to steal, but the damage caused and the repairs have a huge impact.”

Thompson and Kilpatrick went back to their homeless shelter, where they were challenged by their project worker.

Stolen items were found in Kilpatrick’s room, while DNA from both men was found on a damaged wine bottle at the scene.

The Argus:

Thompson has 35 convictions for 175 previous offences, many including burglary and theft, and had breached a suspended sentence for criminal damage.

Sarah Thorne, defending, said he had a history of drug abuse.

The judge said he had an “appalling” record and activated a 16-month suspended sentence along with two years and three months for these offences, making a total of three years and seven months in total.

Kilpatrick has 52 convictions for 105 previous offences, including burglary.

He faces sentencing on May 31.