Police said on March 17 this year a flat in St Mary’s Road was broken into and cash stolen from inside.
The matter was not reported to police at the time, but measures were taken to secure the address, Sussex Police said.
The next day, around 5.35am, a friend of the occupant was looking after the property when he was awoken by someone shining a light at the door and trying to undo screws.
Police said when confronted, the suspect fled the scene but was chased by the member of the public who then detained him in an alleyway nearby.
Police were called and arrested the man, who was identified as Nicholas Huggins, 33, unemployed, of Mount Pleasant Road, Hastings.
Police said a screwdriver belonging to Huggins was also recovered nearby.
Huggins was charged with attempted burglary with intent to steal and going equipped for burglary, and pleaded guilty when he appeared in court on March 19.
Last Thursday (May 20), police said he was sentenced to 27 months’ imprisonment for the attempted burglary and three months’ imprisonment for going equipped for burglary, to run concurrently.
Investigating officer DC Cat Maddock said: “Huggins is a prolific and persistent offender who has caused misery to many people in our community.
“I’d like to thank the member of the public whose vigilance and determination saw Huggins apprehended at the scene, and to everyone else who supported our investigation.”