A householder tired of being burgled boarded-up the ground floor of her house and moved into the first floor.
The 53-year-old occupier of the house in Thornton Street, Hartlepool, was targeted twice in recent months, Teesside Crown Court heard.
John Jobling was jailed for 21 months after he was caught trying to break in.
"The occupier says she is no longer able to get insurance," said prosecutor Rachel Masters.
"The house was her mother's, but she now wishes to sell it. having been burgled twice before this attempted burglary."
The court heard the occupier was at home when she heard a crashing noise.
"She could see a man, later identified as Jobling, trying to force one of the boards on the property," said Ms Masters..
"He reached behind and pushed his hand through a cat flap.
"He then picked up a hoe to make an attempt to force a window, before kicking a door.
"Police were called and arrested Jobling in the back yard.
"When interviewed, he claimed he had been chased and was hiding, he said he had been arrested for nothing."
Jobling, 38, of Hucklehoven Way, Hartlepool, denied attempted burglary on May 25.
He was convicted of the offence in his absence after a trial at Teesside Magistrates' Court.
The bench sent the case to Teesside Crown Court to be sentenced.
Paul Abrahams, defending, said in mitigation: "Mr Jobling does have a bad record, but his last burglary was in 2005.
"Following his last spell in prison he found it hard to get accommodation.
"A property was found for him in Dent Street in Hartlepool, but he found himself being targeted and burgled three times.
"Mr Jobling was then homeless for a time, he was back on the streets and taking drugs."
Mr Abrahams said Jobling could not remember the attempted burglary.
"All he can think is he thought the boarded-up property was empty," added Mr Abrahams.
"It must have been distressing for the victim, but it appears nothing was taken and very little damage was done."
Judge Sean Morris jailed Jobling for 21 months.
The judge told him: "You have a dreadful record, including robberies and burglaries.
"In short, you are a professional.
"This was a nasty offence on a victim who had been targeted in the past.
"The sentence I've passed is constrained by the sentencing guidelines."