A drug-addicted burglar who raided seven homes in the space of a month and mugged a disabled pensioner has escaped a jail term.
Marcel Gazi, aged 21, stole thousands of pounds worth of laptops, televisions and mobile phones from houses in the centre of Rotherham earlier this year.
He also admitted swiping 70-year-old Christine Hughes’ handbag from her shoulder as she walked with friends at Rotherham’s bus interchange.
Sheffield Crown Court heard residents of his neighbourhood formed a ‘posse’ to confront Gazi after rumours circulated he was responsible for a spate of burglaries in the area.
Police arrived on the scene in Fitzwilliam Street as angry victims surrounded him.
Michael Jowett, prosecuting, said: “All of these homes were burgled between February and March this year.
“Fingerprints left at the scenes matched those of the defendant.
“Mrs Hughes was clearly a vulnerable victim. She is disabled and could not pursue him.”
Gazi, of St Ann’s Road, Town Centre, Rotherham, has spent five months in custody since his arrest.
Gul Nawaz Hussain, defending, said: “These crimes were committed when the defendant was addicted to drugs. When I mentioned jail there was a sheer look of terror in his eyes.”
Gazi was given a two-year suspended prison sentence and ordered to carry out 200 hours of unpaid work.