SIXTY burglaries ... but Scarborough criminal Darren Simpson is spared jail for his latest

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A Scarborough criminal has been spared jail despite being convicted of his SIXTIETH burglary.

Darren James Simpson, 38, sneaked into Mecca Bingo in Scarborough and stole two bags and cash from underneath the reception desk.

But he was spared jail because he had not reoffended since January, which a judge described as “miraculous”.

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Simpson, of Wooler Street, appeared for sentence at York Crown Court on Friday after pleading guilty to burglary, theft and possessing Class B drugs.

York Crown CourtYork Crown Court
York Crown Court

Prosecutor Lucy Brown said that Simpson was under investigation for possessing 21 unprescribed Valium tablets in October last year when he sneaked into the bingo hall in Albemarle Crescent on Christmas Eve.

CCTV footage showed Simpson sneaking into the reception area just after 5pm, said Ms Brown.

“He looked around the reception desk, got down on his hands and knees, reached under the desk and walked away,” she added.

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The theft was reported to police after an employee noticed that two bags had gone missing from under the desk. One of them was a zip bag used to hold the business’s money. It had £46 cash inside.

Police were shown the footage and quickly identified Simpson, whom they had come across many times before.

He was arrested on January 2 in Scarborough town centre and brought in for questioning but denied being the man in the video footage.

He was released on bail and went on to commit a shop theft at Tesco, where - together with a male and female accomplice - he stole items including two bottles of vodka, clothes and chocolate worth just under £44.

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The store manager called police after confronting the thieves and Simpson was arrested shortly afterwards.

Ms Brown said the incident at Mecca Bingo was Simpson’s 60th burglary. His long criminal record also included breaching court orders.

Martin Robertshaw, mitigating, said Simpson had a drug problem - namely an addiction to heroin and crack cocaine – but had since beaten the habit with the help of various agencies.

He added that Simpson had not offended since January, although he had been banned from the premises of a drug-support agency due to threatening behaviour.

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Judge Sean Morris said it was “almost miraculous” that Simpson hadn’t offended since his arrest in January.

He said he had initially “pencilled in” a prison sentence measured in years after noting the “sheer number of burglaries” on Simpson’s record, but that he had been persuaded by his barrister to “take a risk” with the defendant and give him one last chance to stay out of jail.

He told Simpson: “You have not actually been in trouble since January, which looking at your record is miraculous.”

The judge said he had also noted that Simpson was looking after his mother and needed “support mechanisms in place straight away” under the auspices of the Probation Service.

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Simpson was given a three-year community order with up to 30 days’ rehabilitation.

“I’m passing this (sentence) because in my (opinion) it’s the only hope of breaking the cycle (of offending),” added Mr Morris.

However, he warned Simpson that he would be “hammered” if he breached the order and committed another burglary, which would result in a prison sentence measured in “years and years and years”.