Man avoids jail after burglary hat-trick

York Crown Court
York Crown Court
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A heavily convicted Scarborough man has escaped jail after a court heard his life has “changed in a heartbeat” from the second he held his newborn son.

York Crown Court heard that Jack Ferguson, of Wooler Street, suffered a poor upbringing, with no parental guidance, and had been “sucked into a life of crime”.

However, in May this year his girlfriend gave birth, and from that instant his life had changed, “crystallizing” his thoughts.

Christopher Dunn, mitigating, said that Ferguson had now disassociated himself from his own family, particularly his mother, Elaine White, who had never offered him support, had involved him in crime and was currently serving a lengthy prison sentence herself.

Ferguson told the court himself: “I have nothing to do with them any more. It hurts me, but they have never been there for me.”

He also told the court the becoming a father himself had “totally changed everything”. He added: “The thought of being away from him (his son) kills me.”

Ferguson, 25, who has past convictions for burglary, robbery, threatening behaviour and damage, was facing a minimum three year jail sentence after appearing before the court for a third strike burglary, three offences of fraud, one of handling stolen copper cabling and asking for a non-domestic burglary to be taken into consideration.

Adrian dent, prosecuting, told how while the occupant was away between August 4 and 24, last year, Ferguson had entered a flat in Aberdeen Walk taking several items, including a cheque book.

He then visited a second-hand shop in Victoria Road, claiming to be the flat owner. The shop owner visited the premises and offered Ferguson £100 for several larger items, including kitchen appliances.

In total the flat owner lost £1, 374 worth of property.

Mr Dent said Ferguson, together with his mother and an unidentified female, then visited the town’s British Heart Foundation shop on three occasions.

On the first two visits they bought items, using the stolen cheque book, but on the third staff became suspicious and Ferguson ran off.

Ferguson and his mother then visited a local bank and attempted to withdraw money from the flat owner’s account. However, the bank staff knew the account order and Ferguson left empty handed, but not before being recorded on CCTV arguing with the staff.

Mr Dent said that on March 9, this year, an off-duty police officer noticed suspicious activity in the town’s Gladstone Road area. Ferguson and two others were later being caught with a wheelbarrow full of stolen BT copper cabling.

The court heard the offence to be taken into consideration involved a burglary and theft of cash from the premises of D and S Food and Wines in Scarborough.

Christopher Dunn, mitigating, said the first burglary on his client’s record happened when he was just 12-years-old, two further house burglaries - counting towards the three strike rule - happening when he was 15-years-old .

He said that the passing of the usual minimum three year sentence for three burglary convictions on Ferguson would “decimate his and his partner’s chances for the future and their 11 week-old- baby’s development”.

He added that his client was determined to give his son the chances he himself had never had.

With Ferguson sobbing in the dock and saying “sorry”, Recorder Graham Cook said he was satisfied the birth of the child would give Ferguson the chance to look forward and that it would be unjust in this case to jail him.

Ferguson was placed under a two year community order, with supervision for 18 months, and ordered to complete 240 hours unpaid work.