The number of criminals whose jail terms are being suspended by courts, has rocketed in the last 10 years, according to a new report.
Offenders serving suspended jail terms include a Derbyshire man who strangled a cat and then threw its body in the bin.
Figures obtained by the Centre for Crime Prevention, which campaigns for suspended sentences to be abolished, showed that in 2002 only 4 per cent of prison terms – or 128 sentences handed down by judges and magistrates in South Yorkshire were suspended, while in Derbyshire the figure was 2 per cent or 41 punishments.
However, in 2012 31 per cent of offences – 1,226 offences – were dealt with by means of a suspended jail term in South Yorkshire and 980, or 31 per cent, in Derbyshire.
Nationally, the study of data, obtained under the Freedom of Information Act from UK police forces, found that 11,670 serious offenders had their prison sentences suspended in 2012, despite having more than 10 previous convictions or cautions.
Peter Cuthbertson, author of the report said: “These figures show criminals given suspended sentences go on to commit hundreds of thousands of crimes.
“Suspended sentences should be abolished.”