Judge tells defendant custody is only option

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By Clevedon People | Thursday, September 16, 2010, 07:00

A SERIAL thief has been jailed for almost three years after burgling a home on the seafront in Clevedon.

David McDonnell, 23, was locked up at Bristol Crown Court after committing his third house burglary.

The court was told McDonnell was chased by members of the public and arrested by police after snatching £15 from a cabinet at a married couple’s home in The Beach.

Julian Howells, prosecuting, said the burglar was challenged by the husband and wife before a chase began in the street involving passers-by.

He said the burglar eventually gave up and waited for police to arrive and arrest him.

When he was interviewed by officers, McDonnell said he had gained access to the home through an unlocked door and had made a search of the property before he was caught holding £5 and £10 notes he had taken from a cabinet.

McDonnell, of Hallam Road, Clevedon, who admitted burglary at an earlier hearing, asked for a further burglary at the same property to be taken into account.

Mr Howells said McDonnell had previous convictions for shoplifting, burglary of commercial premises and possession of an offensive weapon.

Giles Nelson, defending, said his client had tried to steal the money to pay off a drug debt. He said McDonnell had “seemed to have turned a corner” after working as a volunteer at a charity shop.

But Judge Mark Horton said: “You are 23 and have an appalling record, which is in part caused by your drug addiction and in part by a gambling addiction.

“You have a record of committing burglary, mainly of commercial premises, but this is your third offence at a dwelling.

“The court can’t spell it out often or loud enough – if you burgle private dwellings it’s an extremely serious offence.”

Jailing McDonnell for two years and nine months, he added: “It’s quite plain you are not a lost cause.

“But if you carry on like this, your next sentence for a dwelling burglary will be four years. If you don’t learn this lesson now you will spend the rest of your days in a place you would rather not be.”

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