PETTY criminal Paul Hutton walked free from court after he was caught hiding in a bush with a bag filled with stolen goods.

Officers found Hutton carrying scores of items which had been stolen from a home in Cromwell Road, Reading, just hours before on December 17.

Prosecuting, Tomas Quinn said: "The bedroom had been ransacked.

"Police saw him emerging from the bushes and run off towards Caversham Town Centre.

"They found a bag on him and various items within that bag were linked to the address (which was burgled)."

Judge Maria Lamb heard how Hutton, who has more than 30 convictions to his name, was a drug user.

Edward Culver, mitigating, told Reading Crown Court how his client's drug problem had worsened following the death of his parents.

He added: "He was found with the items but not all the items of significance.

"The drugs came after his father passed away and aggravated significantly when his mother passed away."

Hutton, who was arrested while serving a suspended sentence, admitted a single count of handling stolen goods.

He was ordered to serve a community order and a 12-month drug rehabilitation program.

The judge added: "The probation service are more generous in their view of you than I am.

"I am just persuaded that it would be the right course to deal with you by way of a community order."

Hutton, of Westfield Crescent, Henley-on-Thames, was also ordered to pay £85 in costs and carry out 120 hours of unpaid work.