Judge tells ‘frequent and persistent’ burglar: ‘You won’t be home for Christmas’

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A householder woke to hear the screeching sound of his car being driven away by an intruder, a court heard.

Michael Vincent, 40, broke into the garden shed at the man’s home in Rothley, near Loughborough, and set aside a hedge trimmer and a chainsaw before entering the house, where he helped himself to keys to the occupant’s Mitsubishi L200.

Steven Gosnell, prosecuting, told Leicester Crown Court: “The householder, who lives with his partner, awoke to hear screeching and ran downstairs and out of the front door to see a man driving his car away.

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“The house keys and vehicle keys were missing. A hedge trimmer and a chainsaw had been taken out of the garden shed, but not taken away.”

Vincent carried out the raid on Sunday September 13 last year. The police found the stolen car parked in a cul-de-sac a short distance from Rothley.

The number plate had been altered with black tape, while a distinctive two-tone glove was found in the vehicle.

The prosecutor said: “The defendant was staying 100 metres from where the vehicle was located, at the home of a female known to him.

“She answered the door and the defendant was found hiding under a bed in a spare room.

“The premises were searched and a number of items were found including tools, in relation to committing burglary, and a two-tone glove that matched the one found in the stolen car.”

Vincent, of Glaisdale Close, Beaumont Leys, who has “numerous previous convictions” for burglary, attempted burglary and handling stolen goods, gave a ‘no comment’ interview.

He initially denied the Rothley burglary and theft of the Mitsubishi, but changed his plea at a later court hearing.

Lucy Jones, mitigating, said the defendant had served a 12 month jail sentence in the intervening time for another burglary and knife possession.

The Rothley offence should have been dealt with by the courts at the same time as the other crimes last year, she said – urging the court to impose a suspended sentence.

She said Vincent, a father of two, was arrested for the Rothley burglary on his release from prison and had also served about six months on remand awaiting sentence.

Miss Jones said that the defendant, a car mechanic, had since “got clean” of his heroin addiction – the root cause of his offending – and did not want to relapse.

Sentencing, Judge Timothy Spencer QC told Vincent: “In September last year the occupants were at home when you broke in through a window, moved things around, found their keys and drove off in their vehicle.

“The vital link was the glove in the [stolen] car and your DNA was also found.

“You’re a frequent and a persistent offender. I take into account you’ve already served a 12 month sentence in the meantime.

“You’re a father of two boys and you won’t be home for Christmas.

“I can tell, by looking at you, how hard it will be facing another Christmas without them.

“You’re 40, you’re too old for this now, it’s time to put a stop to your criminal career – it’s high time you turned your life around.

“I’m told, and accept, that you can operate as a car mechanic and that’s what I expect you to stick to in the future.

“But you will be inside for Christmas and the New Year.”

Vincent was jailed for 18 months.

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