Burglar admits 177 break-ins – but spared jail

A BURGLAR has owned up to 177 break-ins, stealing more than �400,000 worth of gold and jewellery from Asian families.

But Hatfield man Taoreed Ogboye was spared jail, instead being given the chance by a judge to turn his back on crime.

St Albans Crown Court heard on Monday that 24-year-old Ogboye targeted the homes of Asian families, after their jewellery.

After breaking into one home in Luton last September, he got away with �30,000 worth of gold and jewellery.

In December last year he broke into another Asian family’s home in Watford and his haul of gold came to �9,000.

Neil King, prosecuting, said Ogboye was often with others when he committed the burglaries and there was an element of planning and the targeting of homes occupied by Asian families.

But the court heard Ogboye, of Clarkson Court, came unstuck on December 16 last year when he and others turned up in Cassiobury Drive, Watford, intent on finding homes they could break into.

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Neighbours became suspicious of the gang and when Ogboye was seen to disappear round the back of a house where he had just called at the front door, he was confronted.

Ogboye ran off but didn’t get far and was arrested by police after being found hiding in a wheelie bin.

At Monday’s hearing Ogboye admitted two offences of burglary and asked for 175 similar offences to be considered.

But he was spared jail and given a second chance.

Ogboye was told by Judge Andrew Bright QC he was deferring the sentence until September to see if he could really go straight.

It happened after he had impressed the probation service that he was determined to change his ways.

Instead, Ogboye has been accepted to go on the Choices and Consequences Programme – also known as C2 – designed by Herts Probation Service to help those who commit break-ins against a background of addiction.

Ogboye will be subject to a 9pm to 6am home curfew and random drug testing.

He will also be subject to education and training and if, when he returns to court in five months time he can show he has indeed turned over a new leaf, he can expect a non-custodial sentence for his crimes.

Judge Bright told Ogboye: “You can turn your life around. It’s over to you now.

“Your life and your future are very much in your hands between now and September.”