A JOBLESS heroin addict with an account at a pawnbrokers used it to get rid of priceless jewellery taken in a burglary, a court heard.

Paula Clixby was paid a total of more than £1,000 when she traded in the valuables at a Darlington town centre shop over three days.

The first time the 37-year-old visited the store was just hours after the earrings, watches and and other keepsakes had been stolen.

Teesside Crown court heard on Thursday (March 6) that more than £2,500 worth of irreplaceable jewellery was stolen in the burglary in December.

Clixby - who had almost 100 offences on a record going back more than 15 years - was recognised by police on the shop security cameras.

Her barrister, Carl Swift, said that she had been out of trouble for almost two years and reduced her drug use to about £50 a week.

"Her record is all too depressingly the kind one expects to see from a person who has a lifelong heroin addiction," said Mr Swift.

Clixby, of Melland Street, Darlington, admitted handling stolen goods at an earlier hearing, and was jailed for 12 months.

Judge Howard Crowson said: "I reject out of hand her account that she happened to bump into somebody who offered her some cheap gold.

"She has an account at a pawnbrokers and claims benefits. Someone in her position would only have an account like that to fence stolen goods."

He told Clixby: "You will have to do something about your problems which bring you back before the court time after time."