Burglar apologised to victim via Facebook

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A BURGLAR who used Facebook to apologise to his victim has been spared jail.

Mark Hardy, of Tom Lane, Chesterfield, broke into a house in Brimington, leaving his victim, a single mum, feeling unsafe and ‘distressed’, Derby Crown Court heard.

Hardy, who knew his victim and had spoken to her earlier that night, turned to Facebook to confess his crime when the victim called his ex-wife to ask if he was responsible.

Sarah Allen, prosecuting, said 36-year-old Hardy found an unlocked door in the woman’s home and sneaked in, taking two handbags and £80 in cash.

When she awoke and discovered the burglary, the victim ‘immediately suspected’ Hardy, because she had spoken to him that night and ‘was aware he had a drug problem’.

Miss Allen said: “She phoned his ex-wife and Hardy admitted the burglary.”

He apologised to her on Facebook and returned her handbags, but had spent the cash.

Errol Ballentyne, mitigating, said: “Hardy has all the hallmarks of someone who is deeply sorry and ashamed of his behaviour.

“Immediately there is a Facebook entry where he apologised in no uncertain terms, not as one normally sees, a self-serving message indicating in some way they are trying to help themselves.”

Recorder Sarah Wright sentenced him to an 18-month probation order and told him he must attend a drug rehabilitation course, carry out 150 hours of unpaid work and obey a curfew for a month.

The court heard Hardy had 43 previous convictions, including one for burglary 10 years ago.

At the time of the break-in, he was serving a suspended jail term for harassment.

Sentencing him, the recorder said: “It is clear you apologised to the complainant for what happened, told the police, surrendered yourself and admitted the burglary.

“I accept the remorse you show has been genuine. You responded positively to the earlier supervision order and then started failing to attend because you were ashamed of your behaviour in relation to this burglary.”