Thief’s final chance


A burglar who was out stealing just six weeks after being given an opportunity to get off drugs and stop committing crimes has been given one more chance.

John Butler, 36, and a 16-year-old boy stole £1,800 worth of cable from Upper Wood Farm, Gaddesden, on October 25.

Butler of Thriftfield, Highfield, Hemel Hempstead, had been part of a gang that carried out more than 200 burglaries across the country. When sentenced he had asked for 89 offences to be taken into consideration.

He was given a three year community order and placed on a ‘choices and consquences’ programme in September last year. He was also tagged, put on a curfew, subject to random drug testing and sent on a plumber training course.

St Albans Crown Court heard that Butler was making good progress until his arrest in October for the cable theft. He pleaded guilty and received a six month prison sentence. As Butler had already served that time behind bars on remand he was released to resume the programme.

Judge Andrew Bright also ordered him to pay £1,000 in compensation at the rate of £10 a week.

He told Butler: “Knuckle down and do your plumbing course and we hope you can be a success.

“Let me down and you will be going downstairs for a long time. You are jolly lucky you are not going off for a four year prison sentence.”

At youth court the 16-year-old was given a nine month supervision order and told to pay £300 compensation.