A ‘three strikes’ burglar who got no further than putting his arm through the window of a large detached house near Alcester has been given a chance to rebuild his life.
Instead of the minimum three-year jail term Darren Jacob should have been facing, a judge at Warwick Crown Court gave him a suspended prison sentence.
Jacob, 42, of Mulliners Close, Chelmsley Wood, Solihull, had pleaded guilty to burgling the house in Dunnington, near Alcester, in March.
He was sentenced to two years in prison suspended for two years, with two years supervision, and was ordered to take part in Think First and drug rehabilitation programmes.
Prosecutor Trevor Meegan said that on March 8 the owners of a large detached house in Tothall Lane, Dunnington, went out, leaving their home locked and secure.
When they returned just 90 minutes later they found a window in the rear utility room had been smashed in a break-in which had been captured by one of their security cameras.
The recording showed Jacob and another man, Simeon Baxter, at the rear of the property where Jacob picked up a brick and smashed a glass window pane.
He then reached in through the broken pane to try the handle to open the window itself, but it was locked and they gave up and left.
When he was arrested six days later Jacob, who tested positive for opiates, answered ‘no comment’ to questions put to him about his involvement.
Mr Meegan said Baxter, who was in his 30’s and also from Chelmsley Wood, had pleaded guilty in April in the magistrates’ court and been sentenced to 16 weeks suspended for 12 months.
He added that Jacob had previous convictions for ten offences of dwelling house burglary on his record, the last of which was in July 2009 when he was jailed for four years.
David Munro, defending, said: “This begs the question of what happened to this man since his last conviction almost five years ago to the day.”
Mr Munro said that since being released four years ago, Jacob remained ‘substantially drug-free’ and got a job with an industrial cleaning firm, becoming a supervisor responsible for about 30 staff, and had settled down in a long-term relationship.
Around Christmas last year the relationship broke down and he had to move out of their home and the only place he could go was back to Chelmsley Wood where he began taking class A drugs again.
“Then in February somebody rang up anonymously and spoke to his employers saying how dare they employ someone with criminal convictions to have access to people’s property. They dismissed him, and shortly after he suffered a heart attack.”
Mr Munro said it was against that background that the offence was committed, and observed that but for Jacob putting his arm through the broken window it would have been an attempted burglary and he would fall foul of the three strikes rule.’
Sentencing Jacob, Recorder Easteal told him: “You have shown yourself to be a committed and persistent burglary. But remarkably you had, prior to this, managed to keep yourself out of trouble for several years.”