A burglar who broke into homes at night when the owners were asleep has been jailed for four years.

Eli Cox, 20, targeted four houses in the same street.

He escaped with hundreds of pounds worth of property, including a TV, cash, mobile phones and an airgun.

From one home he stole two children's school bags, leaving his young victims upset.

One of the bags, belonging to a little boy, contained his lunch box and was later found thrown away outside a nearby house.

But a rucksack, which had inside his favourite Star Wars toy, was never found.

His 11-year-old sister's school bag containing her purse was found nearby. But the £10 cash she had inside was missing.

At Lewes Crown Court Cox, of Downland Crescent, Hove, admitted five charges of burglary. He asked for eight other offences to be taken into consideration, including four burglaries.

Cox has 13 previous convictions, including six offences of burglary plus robbery and driving offences. Gabby Henty, prosecuting, told the court that the latest offences were all committed between January 2 and 8.

Four of the burglaries took place in King George VI Drive, Hove, while the other happened in Woodland Avenue, Hove.

Cox was arrested after a pair of green gloves, which contained his DNA, was left behind in the house in Woodland Avenue.

Rhodri James, defending, said following his arrest Cox, who is addicted to cannabis, had tried to help police and had been taken out of prison by officers for a drive where he pointed out his victims' homes.

Judge Anthony Scott-Gall told Cox: "Sadly I consider you to be inherently criminal and unable to resist committing acquisitive crimes. The dwellings were all occupied with families who were asleep, including children "The court has a duty to try to deter an inherent criminal such as you from committing further burglaries."