Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Burglar Breaks His Vow to Victims Burglar Breaks His Vow to Victims Burglar Breaks His Vow to Victims

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Burglar Breaks His Vow to Victims Burglar Breaks His Vow to Victims Burglar Breaks His Vow to Victims

Article excerpt

Byline: Sophie Doughty Crime Reporter sophie.doughty@ncjmedia.co.uk

HE vowed to turn his back on crime after meeting one of his victims and seeing how much misery he had caused.

But career burglar Martin Gilbert has returned to his old ways just months after his pledge to go straight.

The serial sneak thief who fed a drugs habit by stealing cash and valuables from the homes of others during a crime career spanning 30 years, used the pages of the Chronicle to apologise to all his victims in June. However, he was back to his old ways less than six months later.

On Monday, Gilbert admitted carrying out a burglary spree before Christmas during which he raided five homes and a church.

And today he is once again behind bars waiting to find out how long his next jail term will be.

After hearing Gilbert plead guilty to the six offences, which happened in Newcastle in November and December, the judge Recorder Andrew Dallas warned the 48-year-old that he would be spending more time behind bars.

He said: "This is someone who has re-offended in six months. It's just a question of fixing the length of the sentence."

Gilbert, from Walker, Newcastle, was jailed for three and a half years in November 2011 for a burglary spree during which he raided 18 homes, stealing cash and jewellery worth almost PS30,000, predominantly from elderly people's bungalows and during broad daylight.

The Chronicle revealed how he was eventually caught on CCTV using residents' own tools to smash his way into their homes. At one he even took socks off the washing line to cover his hands.

At Newcastle Crown Court Gilbert, whose son Paul was murdered in 2008, pleaded guilty to raiding four homes in Gosforth and Jesmond, and asked for a further 14 burglaries to be taken into consideration.

He was released from prison on licence in July 2013, after serving 21 months.

As part of his rehabilitation he was offered the chance to take part in a 'restorative justice' programme which gives criminals the opportunity to meet their victims and see the impact their crimes have had.

Gilbert, who has two daughters and is a grandfather, was introduced to mum Christine Bell, from Jesmond, whose home he burgled twice.

And after the court usher told him how his raid left her feeling nervous entering her own home, the burglar apologised and promised never to break in to another home.

Today she said she was disappointed. …

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