Three year sentence for career criminal

AN Ipswich criminal has been put behind bars for three years today after breaking into a neighbour's house, as they slept. Arthur Edwards, 33, of Nacton Road, put a pair of socks on his hands before reaching through a dog-flap and unlocking the back door from the inside.

AN Ipswich criminal has been put behind bars for three years today after breaking into a neighbour's house, as they slept.

Arthur Edwards, 33, of Nacton Road, put a pair of socks on his hands before reaching through a dog-flap and unlocking the back door from the inside.

Peter Gair, prosecuting, Ipswich Crown Court said Edwards then stole a handbag and some Playstation cards before leaving. "Alan Ratley and his family were upstairs asleep at 3.50am when the family dog began barking and woke them up," said Mr Gair.

"The lounge light was on when it should not have been and the back door was open."

Mr Ratley looked through the upstairs bathroom window in time to Edwards escaping over his garden fence.

Police arrested Edwards, who was still carrying the socks, later that morning. The sock fibres matched those left behind on the garden fence and the handbag and its contents were recovered in the area.

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The court heard that Edwards had a long criminal record for dishonesty, burglary and robbery and he had spent much of his adult life in prison.

Mr Gair said in July Edwards stole a handbag from a Sainsbury's customer in Stafford. He was instantly arrested but was given bail after giving police a false name and address. Edwards then failed to turn up at court and committed a bail act offence. He was finally arrested in London and remanded in custody.

Edwards pleaded guilty to burglary, failing to surrender, theft of a handbag and to obstructing a police officer by giving false details.

Cherie Parnell, mitigating, said Edwards was sorry for breaking into the family home and accepted it would have been "absolutely terrifying" if they had seen him.

Judge Peter Thompson said: "You are a very experienced prisoner and you knew burglary at night where people are asleep upstairs is very serious and must attract a custodial sentence.

"It is up to you to change your life, you run the risk of being permanently institutionalised and that means being happier in prison than free on the streets."

Edwards was sentenced to a total of three years and two months in jail.

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