Jailed burglar told: Blaming drink pathetic’

A TEENAGE burglar who terrified a mother and two children when he struck at their Hartford home in the middle of the night has begun a year-long jail sentence. Drunken 18-year-old Craig Newton escaped with some £70 worth of belongings, including a library

A TEENAGE burglar who terrified a mother and two children when he struck at their Hartford home in the middle of the night has begun a year-long jail sentence.

Drunken 18-year-old Craig Newton escaped with some £70 worth of belongings, including a library card, just eight days after he was ordered to attend an alcohol awareness programme by Huntingdonshire magistrates.

But Judge Neil McKittrick at Peterborough Crown Court told the teenager: "Being boozed up does not wash with the courts as far as you are concerned."

He said blaming the incident on drink was a "rather pathetic excuse" and that custody was "absolutely inevitable".

Newton, of The Whaddons, Huntingdon, broke into a house in Pembroke Close, Hartford, shortly after 2.30am on January 13, while a mother and her two young daughters were asleep.

The owner was awoken by a noise from downstairs and managed to make a phone call to a family member, who contacted police.

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On arrival, officers found a teenage girl in the garden who admitted "spotting" for Newton. They were arrested and Newton's fingerprints were found at the point of entry to the house.

Prosecutor George Speed said Newton had stolen cash, a debit card and a purse. In a statement read to the court, the mother said she was left scared for her own safety and that of her children, with the smallest noise in her home prompting her to double-check locks.

John Kirkpatrick, defending, apologised on behalf of Newton for the burglary, describing him as "blindingly drunk" at the time. He said he had the continued support of his family and that a custodial sentence at his age may be counter-productive.

Just eight days prior to the burglary, Newton had been handed an 18-month community order for theft, criminal damage and using threatening behaviour.

Judge McKittrick revoked the community order and replaced it with a two-month jail term, as well as handing down a 10-month sentence for the burglary. Newton will serve half the time in a young offenders' institution.

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