Three-strike South Yorkshire burglar is spared from jail after "remarkable transformation"

A burglar with three raids to his name has narrowly been spared from jail after he has undergone a “remarkable transformation”.

Monday, 1st March 2021, 11:01 am
Updated Monday, 1st March 2021, 11:04 am

Sheffield Crown Court heard on February 25 how Neil Oldham, aged 26, of Manor Close, Upper Haugh, Rotherham, burgled a Lighthouse Homes accommodation for the homeless in July, last year, after he claimed he had been homeless at the time and desperate for food.

Nicola Quinney, prosecuting, said an alarm was activated at the property and Oldham was seen and escorted off the premises before some residents realised some of their property was missing.

Ms Quinney added the defendant, who used to be a resident at the Lighthouse Homes accommodation returned with the stolen goods and he said he was going to sell them on to buy food.

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Sheffield Crown Court, pictured, heard how a three-strike burglar has narrowly been spaerd from jail after he has gone through a "remarkable transformation".

Oldham, who has two previous dwelling-burglary convictions, pleaded guilty to the burglary which placed him in the three-strike burglar category which ordinarily would mean immediate custody.

However, defence barrister Dermot Hughes said: “There has been a remarkable transformation in this young man’s life and he has settled accommodation and he is sober – factors suggesting he has taken responsibility for his own life and he has taken positive steps to avoid further offending.

"He knows he is entirely reliant on the court’s mercy if he is to avoid custody. He knows the distress he caused and knows interfering with others property is serious.”

Judge Sarah Wright recognised Oldham has turned his life around and told the defendant he is to be commended and that she believes there is a real prospect for rehabilitation.

She sentenced Oldham to an 18 month community order with 200 hours of unpaid work and a three-month curfew with a 25-day Rehabilitation Activity Requirement. Oldham was also given a conditional discharge for failing to surrender to court.

But Judge Wright told Oldham: “If you continue to to keep out of trouble for the next 18 months and comply with this order that will be an end to this matter but if you commit any further offence or fail to comply with the order you will be brought back to court and you will go to prison for three years.”

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