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‘There’s no deterrent for burglars at the moment’

11th September 2013 Local Businesses, Nottingham Evening Post Tags: , , , , 0 Comments

SEAN Holden knows better than most how burglary can impact on both family life and business.

The owner of the Jaguar pub in Stapleford suffered seven break-ins between 2007 and 2012.

In total he estimates they have cost him about £50,000 in cash, jewellery, new locks and repairs.

Police have made just one arrest from all of the cases, which led to a 31-year-old man being cautioned.

Mr Holden, 38, who will leave the Jaguar in a couple of months, said:

“It’s had such a massive impact.

“It’s cost me my business. My wife is too scared to live here. It’s been very difficult for us to get over.

“I’ve worked hard to get where I am and for someone to just walk in and steal it and get away with it is very unfair. It does make me angry.”

It is the impact burglaries have on victims which has led to top Nottingham judge Michael Stokes’s concern about the sentencing powers available to the courts when sentencing burglars with a number of offences on their record.

The last government introduced a “three strikes and you’re out” policy on domestic burglary, with mandatory three-year custodial sentences on the third conviction.

However, the sentences are often reduced if the burglar pleads guilty.

Instead, Judge Stokes would like to see judges have the option of giving extended sentences to multiple offenders, with five or six burglaries to their name, and to make offenders apply for parole.

Extended sentences currently only apply to violent or sexual crimes.

Mr Holden, who has two sons who both witnessed one of the burglaries, agrees wholeheartedly with Judge Stokes’s comments.

“I think they need to increase quite a lot for all burglars because at the moment there’s no deterrent,” he said.

“You see people get cautions, suspended sentences and fines and when they go on to commit again it takes a long time to get them back in the court.

“I think a few years at least would be more suitable and then when they are released I’d like to see them have to wear a tag which allows the police to know exactly where they are.

“Having to prove to the parole board they are ready to be released is also something I agree with 100 per cent.

“After a few months they walk straight out and end up doing the same thing again.

“If they were only released when they were reformed, the re-offending rate might go down.”

Two prolific burglars who have committed offences in Nottingham include Philip Kelly, 33, of no fixed address, and Glyn Brookes, 39, previously of Annesley Road, Hucknall.

Both committed offences while on the run from open prison.

Clifton inspector Nick Waldron wonders whether serving more of their initial sentences would have acted as a deterrent.

He also believes that integrated offender management, where a number of agencies work to support the convict on release, is vital.

Inspector Waldron said:

“It’s difficult to say whether releasing a repeat burglar will result in a spike in burglaries.

“We have an integrated offender management team that manage repeat offenders so the possibility of re-offending is something we are aware of but we do manage it and it has proved successful.

“However, I would like to see harsher sentencing. If people are committing that many times then that’s five or six different victims and burglars should be given the appropriate sentence to reflect that level of impact.”

Meanwhile Mark Taylor, director of Offender Management at Notts Probation Trust, said protecting the public was the trust’s main concern.He said:

“Sentencing is a matter for the courts.

“The role of the probation service is to advise the judiciary of possible outcomes within current legislation, and to ensure opportunities to reduce reoffending are maximised with each offender.

“Protection of the public is our priority, and to ensure sentences have maximum impact, types of activity and level of intensity can be varied according to the risk an offender presents.”

A Home Office spokesman said:

“Tough sentences already exist for burglary offences including up to 14 years imprisonment.”

A third domestic burglary offence carries a minimum of three years imprisonment.”

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