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Burglar is denied a shorter sentence

By Alan Erwin

Published 08/03/2016

A heroin addict who burgled homes for jewellery to fund his drug habit has failed in a bid to have his six-year sentence reduced
A heroin addict who burgled homes for jewellery to fund his drug habit has failed in a bid to have his six-year sentence reduced

A heroin addict who burgled homes for jewellery to fund his drug habit has failed in a bid to have his six-year sentence reduced.

David Taylor targeted temporarily empty houses in a week-long blitz across Ballymena, Co Antrim, in June 2013.

The 34-year-old, who lived in the town at the time, pleaded guilty to three of eight burglary counts and a further charge of possessing cannabis.

His lawyers mounted an appeal against the three-year jail term, followed by a further three on licence, imposed for the break-ins and other outstanding suspended sentences.

Taylor was identified after selling some of the stolen belongings at a pawn shop.

He had committed his first burglaries as a teenager, developing a criminal record connected to his drug taking, the Court of Appeal heard. Previous offences involved raids on commercial premises and private dwellings.

He later became a regular heroin user, committing crime to fund his drug lifestyle.

Rejecting claims that the six-year term was manifestly excessive, Lord Chief Justice Sir Declan Morgan said: "A deterrent sentence was required in this case."

It was also claimed there had been a disparity in the treatment of Taylor and a co-accused who received a suspended 18-month sentence.

Sir Declan identified marked differences between them, describing how the other man was a hopeless alcoholic who "became entangled in this operation by the offer of alcohol".

The judge added: "The appellant was sentenced on the basis that he was a professional burglar."

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