Judge describes four year delay in bringing burglary case to crown court in Sheffield as "astonishing"

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A Sheffield judge described the four year delay in bringing a burglary case to court as “astonishing.”

William Harkin committed the break-in, at an address in the Barnsley area, with another man, in September 2016, prosecutor Beverley Wright told Sheffield Crown Court, on Friday.

She said even though he was arrested two months later, police were unable to trace him because “he moved house and wasn’t claiming benefits.”

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The court heard Harking and his accomplice targeted the house because they believed the occupant was a drug dealer. The man was at home when the pair broke in and a total of £224, in goods and cash, was taken.

Sheffield Crown CourtSheffield Crown Court
Sheffield Crown Court

Harkin’s co-accused received a ten month sentence, suspended for 12 months.

Ian West, mitigating, said Harkin surrendered to police after they contacted his father, with whom he was living with in Bridlington, in June 2020.

"He then went back to Bridlington,” Mr West said. “I would suggest very little blame rests with him. He has managed to turn his life around from his previous habitual offending.”

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Harkin, 36, of Windsor Crescent, Bridlington, pleaded guilty to burglary.

Judge Graham Reeds QC told him: “It may be considered fortunate that your co-accused was dealt with seperately and the prosecution accepted burglary rather than robbery."

He said a lot of the delay was Harkin’s responsibility but “more could have been done to find you sooner.”

He sentenced him to 18 months, suspended for two years, and ordered him to carry out 150 hours of unpaid work.

Read the latest cases from Sheffield Crown Court here.

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