Thief has sentence cut

A THIEF who stole a neighbour’s £1,000 television set after sneaking into her home, when a babysitter left the door unlocked, has had his sentence cut by top judges.

Craig Lee Wharton, 33, along with criminal pal, Terry Tyers, 29, crept into Carole Barclay’s home in Sheriff Street, Hartlepool, in the early hours of June 8 last year.

They were caught red-handed and, after each admitted burglary at Teesside Crown Court, Wharton was jailed for two-and-a-half years and Tyers for two years.

Earlier this year, Tyers had his sentence cut to 18 months and yesterday Wharton’s jail term was slashed to two years by judges at London’s Court of Appeal.

Mr Justice Griffith Williams said the sentence passed on Wharton, most recently of Keswick Street, Hartlepool, was “manifestly excessive”.

The court heard Wharton and Tyers pounced after Ms Barclay’s babysitter left the house to check what time she would be returning that night.

When the babysitter got back, she found the pair inside the house.

Ms Barclay then returned and realised her wall-mounted television had been removed.

Wharton claimed he had seen two men acting suspiciously in the area and went to check things out.

But he was arrested after a short struggle.

He was given a longer sentence than Tyers because Tyers pleaded guilty at an early stage, whereas Wharton waited until last November before owning up.

Allowing his appeal yesterday, the judge, who sat with Lord Justice Gross and Mr Justice Sweeney, agreed that the two-and-a-half year sentence was excessive.

“We will quash the appellant’s sentence and substitute it for a sentence of two years’ imprisonment,” he told the court.

“An order was made in the crown court that 154 days spent on remand should count towards that sentence.

“We confirm that order.”