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Repeat offender jailed for five and a half years

 Published on: 20th October 2017   |   By: The Newsdesk   |   Category:

A burglar from Watford who was given a chance to get off drugs and go straight was jailed for five and a half years on September 18. Luke O’Connell, 22, of YMCA, Charter Place, went on the Choices and Consequences programme last year after admitting burglary and stealing from cars. The programme aims to stop prolific offenders like O’Connell committing crimes by giving them education and training and regular drug tests. But prosecutor Neil King told St Albans Crown Court he was stopped in Watford town centre on May 15 by police officers who saw him smoking a cannabis cigarette.  He asked them: “I can have a caution can’t I? It has been 12 months.” Two weeks later, on May 29, he was seen trying car door handles in Southwold Road and Bushey Mill Lane. Sometime between June 26 and July 1 he got into an underground car park at flats and stole a bike. Then on August 3, he was caught by a member of staff at Waitrose after stealing meat he had put in a string bag. O’Connell appeared to be sentenced for the C2 offences as well burglary, possession of cannabis, theft and attempted theft. He had 32 previous convictions for 65 offences. Gabrielle Moore, defending, told the judge that O’Connell knew he had let down the judge and himself by failing the programme. Since he had been on the programme his rate of offending had decreased. He had a difficult childhood, being made to leave the family home at an early age, she said. He had also been engaging with the Prince’s Trust and had been working for Child UK and wants to become a social worker. Judge Jonathan Carroll told him he had to pass a substantial sentence. He said: “You have done too much, too often. “Deep down you are a decent person, but I regret you have reached the end of the C2 road.”

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