Last chance for 'stupid' Fenton burglar
A BURGLAR who was part of a gang who ransacked a family home has been spared a jail sentence.
Robert Betts, aged 21, was with friends in Newcastle when he was asked if he wanted to 'do some burglaries', Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court heard yesterday.
Prosecutor Fiona Cortese said the homeowner left her property at about 11am on August 12 and returned at 8pm on August 15, after her daughter called her to say she had been burgled.
"When her daughter attended she saw a number of kitchen units opened, the freezer was pulled out with frozen food on the floor and two bedrooms were ransacked," said Miss Cortese.
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The court heard a computer system, a DVD player, three watches, DVDs and a Sky card were stolen, together worth £865.
A scenes of crime officer recovered fingerprints from a DVD in the lounge and a shoebox in a bedroom which linked Betts to the crime.
He was arrested on September 5 and told officers he was with friends who entered the house and he followed.
Betts said he and the group went to the property in Heath Avenue, May Bank, and gained entry through the back door. He said he stayed downstairs all the time and left on his own without the others. But he said he was aware the others took a computer with them, which he believed had been sold.
Betts admitted it was a 'stupid idea' and added he had been easily led.
The defendant, of Burnham Street, Fenton, pleaded guilty to burglary.
Stuart Muldoon, mitigating, said Betts accepted being a member of a group but he was not the instigator.
"There was some peer pressure, he was trying to establish himself as part of the group," said Mr Muldoon.
He added Betts no longer mixes with those associates and now has a more settled and stable environment.
Recorder Bal Dhaliwal said the offence was made more serious because Betts was subject to a number of court orders at the time.
"You have an appalling record of failing to comply with court orders," said the judge.
"Each time the court gives you an order you decide to not do what you are told."
But Recorder Dhaliwal was told Betts is turning his life around and is engaging with probation. She decided to give Betts a final chance and sentenced him to 12 months in prison, suspended for 18 months, with 18 months supervision and 36 hours at an attendance centre. He must also pay £430 compensation.
Recorder Dhaliwal added: "This is a very serious offence where you have violated someone's sense of being inside their own premises."