A burglar claimed he came round after drinking a bottle of brandy to find he had broken into two homes.
Nicholas Gallagher, 50, from Cambridge, had also taken prescription drugs and told police when he sobered up he found he had stolen jewellery, a carriage clock and cameras.
Police said on 9 October he smashed through the glass panel of a front door in Queen Edith’s Way in Cambridge and took some sentimental jewellery, a carriage clock worth £1,000 as well as three kitchen knives.
He then went on to a property in Beaumont Road where he took £25,000 of jewellery and other items after smashing through the rear patio doors. He left the stolen knives and his blood stains in one of the bedrooms.
Forensics linked Gallagher’s DNA to the scene and he was tracked down on 15 October to a bed and breakfast in Great Yarmouth in Norfolk where he was arrested.
Officers recovered a backpack containing some of the stolen items from Beaumont Road.
Gallagher admitted both burglaries and told detectives where he had pawned or stashed the stolen goods.
He also admitted two further burglaries on 10 October in Shelford Road, Cambridge and Southwell Drive, Trumpington and an attempted burglary in Whittle Avenue, Trumpington.
At Cambridge Crown Court on Friday, Gallagher was sentenced to four years in prison after previously pleading guilty to two counts of burglary and having an article with a blade or point.
Detective Constable Paul Stevens, from the burglary team, said: “Gallagher admitted all of the offences at the first opportunity and showed sincere remorse for his actions, even trying to help us recover the stolen property.
“However, this doesn’t make up for his actions. Burglary is an abhorrent invasion of privacy, with offenders often showing total disregard for sentimental items that not only hold huge significance and emotional attachment by their owners but are also irreplaceable by their very nature.
"These items are people’s memories, life stories and reminders of loved ones, which no amount of insurance money or criminal justice can replace.”