A career burglar who was caught red-handed in a Northampton house when neighbours came running at the sound of the intruder alarm has been jailed.
Darren Willams, 39, of no fixed abode, was sentenced at Northampton Crown Court yesterday (May 4) the court heard how he had "cased" the neighbourhood before attempting the break-in.
But the judge, Recorder Anupama Thomson QC, chose to impose the shortest sentence possible after hearing pleas from Williams' family, and told the burglar he must "break the cycle" of reoffending.
She said: "You have an appalling record for burglary.
"This cycle [of offending] has to be broken and the question is how that can be done. The responsibility for that must lie with you."
The court heard how a neighbour grew suspicious of Williams when he came to his door in Prescott Close, Rectory Farm, and asking for work in April this year.
But 45 minutes later, the neighbour heard the burglar alarm go off at an empty home and ran to investigate.
He was met by another neighbour who had a key to the house. They opened the front door to find Williams on his way up the stairs, who then tried to push past them. But the neighbours grappled him to the floor and held him until the police arrived.
In interview, Williams admitted smashing his way into the house through the conservatory, and asked police to take five other burglaries into account.
The court heard how this break-in would be the sixth time Williams has been sentenced for burglary and that he struggled with addiction.
Williams was also jailed in 2016 for a series of ram-raids on Northampton shops.Recorder Thompson said: "I have been persuaded by the pleas of your family not to impose a longer-term sentence, which was my first thought."
Williams was sentenced to two years and six months in prison, which the judge called "the shortest sentence I can pass".