Long-term burglar wants a new start

PUBLISHED: 16:13 13 May 2008 | UPDATED: 21:11 26 October 2009

A PROLIFIC burglar handed himself into police after hearing a scheme was in place to help steer people like himself away from a life of crime. Craig Armstong, 32, had already burgled three homes in WGC and Hatfield when he decided he wanted the chance. Ye

A PROLIFIC burglar handed himself into police after hearing a scheme was in place to help steer people like himself away from a life of crime.

Craig Armstong, 32, had already burgled three homes in WGC and Hatfield when he decided he wanted the chance.

Yesterday (Monday) he appeared at St Albans Crown Court where he admitted the offences and asked for a further 41 to be taken into consideration.

Armstrong, of St Peter's Close, Hatfield, broke into a house in Church Road, WGC, on November 1 last year and stole £3,000 worth of goods, said prosecutor David Chrimes.

On December 21 he stole £1,700 worth of property from a house in Aldbury Grove in the town

And on January 4 this year he was responsible for a break-in at a house in The Runway, Hatfield, in which £750 worth of property was taken.

It was after hearing about the 'Choices and Consequences' programme that has been piloted in Hertfordshire that Armstrong handed himself into police.

The programme is designed to help long-term habitual burglars break the cycle of offending and for the first time in maybe years, go straight.

Those deemed to be suitable for the programme are not sent to prison but instead given help and assistance to turn their backs on crime.

It means undergoing regular testing to make sure they are not taking drugs, being subject to a curfew and having regular contact with the probation service.

Armstrong was told by Judge Michael Baker QC that he would be remanded in custody for a short period until a place is available for him on the programme.

Armstrong will first be given an assessment to see if he is suitable for the programme.

If it's found he is, he will be be brought back to court where sentence will then be deferred for six months.

During that time Armstrong can expect to be closely monitored as well as subjected to regular testing.

But, said the judge, if he comes through that period successfully and has demonstrated he genuinely wants to turn his back on crime, he can expect a community-based sentence that will not deprive him of his liberty.


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