A ONE-MAN crime wave, who carried out 78 burglaries, has avoided jail.

Drug addict William Coe, 24, of Ashfields, Pitsea, targeted households across Basildon borough between 2010 and 2013.

Yet he was handed a two-year community order when he appeared at Basildon Crown Court yesterday.

Judge Jonathan Black told the court the sentence had been imposed to help Coe kick his cocaine addiction and help him start a new law-abiding life.

In mitigation, a statement from Coe was read out to the court. It read: “I am sorry for all of these offences.

“I have admitted them to make up in some small way.

“I did not target anyone and I am sorry for the pain and hurt I have caused.

“I will now make the effort to change my ways.”

The court had heard that: ! On October 13 and 15, 2010, he broke into two homes in Pitsea ! On August 21, he broke into the home of Hayley Cray, in Pitsea, and stole electrical items and jewellery.

The court heard on top of these three offences, Coe admitted to an additional 75 burglaries to police detectives.

He also confessed to stealing £61,000 worth of copper cable from British Telecom on November 8, 2011.

As part of the community order, Coe will be under the supervision of the Probation Service for two years and must attend a drug rehabilitation programme.

He must also attend the build skills for the future programme and pay £60 court costs.

Sentencing Coe, Judge Black said: “You have a long previous record and have appeared beore the court on 18 occasions for 32 offences.

“What has changed is that you have decided you are going to change your life.

“You started by voluntarily going to the police and volunteering information about burglaries you had committed.”