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Dog foils Christmas burglar

By Exeter Express and Echo  |  Posted: November 19, 2013

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A sneaky burglar’s attempt to raid a family home was foiled when the owners’ pet dog raised the alarm as he put his arm through a window.

Darren Powell escaped with a mobile phone which had been left near the kitchen window after the raid on a home in Chudleigh two days before Christmas.

He tried to explain his fingerprints by claiming to have made the newly-fitted double glazed window but police checks showed they had been installed before he started work at the window company.

Powell was given a final chance to turn his life around by a Judge at Exeter Crown Court despite him being told that he had not been accepted by a rehabilitation project in North Devon.

The 20-year-old went to the Amber Project in Chawleigh, near Chulmleigh, but staff decided his problems were too complex for them to handle.

Powell, of Fore Street, Chudleigh, admitted burglary and his sentence was deferred for six months by Judge Francis Gilbert.

He told him:”You have to prove yourself over a long period of time. If not you are at real risk of custody. You have a bad record of repeated offending.

“You were made subject of a suspended sentence for attempted burglary last year but six months later, just before Christmas, you stuck your house into somebody’s house and took a mobile phone and gave that family an unhappy Christmas.

“I am told there is evidence you have turned the corner and it is hoped you have put crime behind you and will stay out of trouble. I am giving you a chance to prove it but if you commit another offence you will go inside.”

Miss Bathsheba Cassel, prosecuting, said Powell climbed up to the kitchen window of the house in Moor View, Chudleigh after getting into the garden through a back gate.

She said:”The occupants were present. They were a mother and her 16-year-old daughter and the mother went to have a shower at 8.30 am while her daughter was still in bed.

“She left her £400 Samsung Galaxy phone on the kitchen window sill where the window had been left about an inch open.

“Shortly afterwards she was alerted to the burglary by the noise of her dog barking within the house and she came out to find the window wide open and her phone stolen.

“When Powell was interviewed he eventually told police he may have left his fingerprints on the glass while working for the firm that installed the windows.

“Inquiries with the company showed his employment post dated the fitting of the windows by three days.”

Mr William Parkhill, defending, said Powell has been offered a place at a residential rehabilitation centre in Torquay and has impressed probation officers by a complete change of attitude in the past two months.

He said:”The Amber Project decided his needs were beyond their range but he is now working with the Turnaround team and has completed all but five hours of his unpaid community work.

“In his case it seems the penny has finally dropped and he has completed two modules of the Thinking Skills programme. There has been a sea change in his attitudes.”

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