Burglar given chance to reform

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A BURGLAR was spared jail to try and beat his drug addiction after he stole from a neighbour.

Anthony Whalley, 43, crept into his friend’s house in the early hours of the morning while he was asleep and took his mobile phone and charger.

Teesside Crown Court heard it was in response to an argument the pair had had the previous night over the loan of the victim’s bike.

Whalley was told he deserved to be jailed for the offence.

But the judge deferred sentencing for six months after being told Whalley had secured funding for a place on a drug rehabilitation residential scheme.

Judge George Moorhouse told him: “You have an appalling record and, quite frankly, should be going to prison today.”

The court heard Whalley and his girlfriend knew the victim Richard Shaw and they often visited him and borrowed his bike.

About a month before the burglary the victim’s keys went missing and he suspected Whalley’s girlfriend.

Sue Jacobs, prosecuting, said: “The evening before the burglary the defendant visited Mrs Shaw and asked to borrow his bike.

“It wasn’t returned when it should have been and as a result he and Mr Shaw argued.”

The next morning Mr Shaw awoke to find his phone, charger, cash and tobacco missing.

He suspected Whalley and when he used a friend’s phone to call his own, he heard it ringing from inside Whalley’s flat.

Whalley, of Tower Street, Hartlepool, admitted taking the phone and charger but denied stealing any money or tobacco.

Jim Withyman, mitigating, said: “If he is successful on the course the chances of him being back before the court will be greatly reduced.”

Judge Moorhouse added: “I have decided to defer your sentencing for six months subject to the conditions you keep out of trouble and try to overcome your drug addiction, hopefully by attending this reparation course.”