Judge finds burglars 'courageous', lets one walk free

Judge finds burglars 'courageous', lets one walk free

A judge in Britain had a courtroom in utter disbelief when he described burglars as courageous and let a serial intruder walk free.

Richard Rochford, 26, burgled three homes in East Cleveland and tried to burgle another within five days. He carried out a raid while his girlfriend Amy Kyme, 22, who also escaped a jail term, acted as a lookout, The Sun reported.

But the Judge Peter Bowers in the Teesside Crown Court opted against the custody, accepting that Rochford had been "damaged" by prison after becoming addicted to heroin treatment drug Subutex while serving a sentence.

Judge Bowers also admitted he could be "pilloried" for his decision not to jail Rochford after the latter admitted to a string of burglaries.

But he said: "It takes a huge amount of courage as far as I can see for somebody to burgle somebody's house. I wouldn't have the nerve. Yet somehow, bolstered by drugs and desperation, you were prepared to do that."

"I think prison very rarely does anybody any good. It mostly leaves people the chance to change their own mind if they want to."

Though saying that Rochford deserved to be jailed for two-and-a-half years and anything less would not satisfy the public, Judge Bowers gave him a two-year supervision order and warned of a 30-month jail sentence if the thief appeared in court again.