A serial burglar has admitted breaking into a Saunton house on New Year’s Day and stealing food.

Gary Dakin, aged 59, of Bullard Road, Norwich, pleaded guilty to burglary when he appeared at Exeter Crown Court and his case was adjourned for a probation report.

His plea of not guilty to possessing a kitchen knife in Saunton was accepted by the Crown, although he accepts he had it for use in the burglary,

Dakin is liable to receive a mandatory sentence of three years, less 20 per cent reduction for his guilty plea, because he has two previous convictions since the year 2000.

He used a screwdriver to break into the house while visiting the Braunton area on New Year's Day and had the knife to force open windows.

Gordon Richings, prosecuting, said Dakin has been interviewed about three other burglaries in North Devon and admitted the offences, which are likely to be taken into consideration when he is sentenced.

He said Dakin has numerous previous convictions for burglary, but only two since the mandatory sentences were introduced in 2000.

These were from Bournemouth Crown Court in 2000 for a burglary in Lulworth, Dorset, and Norwich Crown Court for a burglary in Norwich in 2005.

Ian Graham, defending, said a probation report would be useful because there has been such a long gap since the previous burglary.

Judge David Evans adjourned sentence until next month. Dakin, also known as Neville, appeared by video link from Exeter Prison and was remanded in custody.