45 years of crime, many counts of burglary and breaking in

DESPITE an "appalling" criminal history which has dated back to 1983 and amounted to a "waste of a life" in prison, an Ipswich Magistrate could see some sign of remorse in a serial offender.

Henry Martin Hill, 53, from Ellen Grove, has regularly been in and out of prison since 1988 and the only lapses in offending, including many counts of burglary and break and enters, had happened when he was behind bars.

He appeared in Ipswich Magistrates Court and pleaded guilty to 12 charges before the court, including burglary, fraud and the unlawful use of a motor vehicle.

But Magistrate David Shepherd said although it seemed Hill had not taken many positive steps to a better life and was almost "immune" to rehabilitation at this point, he saw a small hint of remorse in his latest batch of offences.

About 2pm on August 8 last year, he entered an Ellen Grove home and stole car keys and a mobile phone.

The home owner was in the shower and heard the door opening but thought it was her niece and Hill was undetected as he took off with the car.

But just 10 minutes later, Hill returned back to the address with the car and said he was sorry.

Ten minutes after that, Hill's nephew arrived to the house and returned the mobile that had been taken.

Earlier last year on May 28, Hill had gained entry to a Wacol address by throwing a log splitter through a rear glass door and stole a mobile, jewellery, a TV, $700 in cash and other items with a total value of $4500.

He was caught after police matched a bit of blood left in a bedroom to him.

Hill's latest offences also included entering vehicles and using a credit card which had been stolen from the Weeroona Hotel in Goodna to buy cigarettes, newspapers and mobile phone credit at a Goodna service station.

Magistrate Shepherd said the offences were not opportunistic but deliberate and Hill seemed to have an "irrepressible need to go out and commit these sort of offences".

"It's a classic case of someone almost incapable of controlling their behaviour," he said.

But he said the August offence showed there were "signs of remorse in all this" or it had been a result of urging from his family but either way there was help out there, whether it be from family or support programs, to better himself.

Hill's partner and young daughter were in court to support him.

"The only person who can achieve help is you," Mr Shepherd said.

Defence lawyer Jason Voight said Hill was one of 13 children raised in Gladstone and experienced extreme violence at the hands of his father as a child.

When his parents separated when he was 10-years-old, his mum took on responsibility for all 13 kids on her own.

"He knows full well he has a problem... he's not beyond help," Mr Voight said.

He developed a drug addiction after leaving school and again relapsed last year following the loss of his brother and father.

But Mr Shepherd said Hill, who has spent the past six months in prison, did them "no service" by using drugs and continuing to commit crimes.

He was sentenced to two-and-a-half years in prison to be served after his current sentence ends in November, with a parole eligibility date of May 12 next year.

Convictions were recorded.