‘Burglary doesn’t take courage, just brass neck’, judge tells Mansfield and Stanton Hill burglars

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A judge who jailed two men for a Mansfield house burglary, told them: ‘Burglary doesn’t take courage, just brass neck.’

The comment by Judge Michael Stokes, the Recorder of Nottingham, followed controversial remarks by a judge on Teesside earlier this month which received wide publicity.

Judge Peter Bowers spared a serial burglar who, he said, had acquired a drug habit while in prison for another offence.

Judge Bowers said: “It takes a huge amount of courage as far as I can see for somebody to burgle some one’s house. I wouldn’t have the nerve.

“I think prison very rarely does anybody any good.”

At Nottingham Crown Court Benjamin Marshall (20), of Stanton Court, Stanton Hill, was given two years for the burglary in Victoria Street, Mansfield, on 24th April and an attempted bag snatch the following day.

Ricky Goodall (23), of Holmesfield Walk, Mansfield, was sentenced to nine months for his part in the burglary, while Shane Thomas-Shaw (19), of Mayfield Street, Kirkby-in-Ashfield, was given nine months suspended for a year, with 120 hours unpaid work, for his involvement.

All pleaded guilty. Marshall asked for two other offences – a theft of a motorbike and burglary of a house with intent to steal – to be taken into consideration.

Judge Stokes told the men: “Burglary of some one’s house is always a serious offence. There will always be a custodial sentence unless there are exceptional circumstances.”

The court heard the female victim had left a note saying a parcel should be delivered to her boyfriend’s address. It was clear she was out.

CCTV footage showed the three accused walking down the street. They got into a taxi with a stolen flatscreen TV which was sold at a pawnshop for £45, said Harold Ewing, prosecuting.

Marshall attempted to rob a woman of her handbag in Woodhouse Road the following afternoon.

She screamed and Marshall ran off when cars stopped in the road. Two men got out of a car and caught him after a chase.

But they let him go when friends of his surrounded them and they felt intimidated, said Mr Ewing.

Marshall’s barrister Ian Way said his client was remorseful and wanted to apologise to his victims.

Judge Stokes told Marshall: “It was only because the woman held onto her bag that you didn’t get your thieving hands on it.

“House burglary is always serious because of the psychological impact it has on householders.”