Harpenden Burglar Avoids Jail

A man from Harpenden, who carried out more than 30 burglaries, has escaped a jail term.

Sylvanus Mason, 31, was placed on the Choices and Consequences programme when he appeared at St Albans crown court on Monday.

Mason, of Masefield Road, admitted handling stolen goods, theft and two burglaries. He asked for 32 burglaries to be taken into consideration.

Sentence had been adjourned at an earlier hearing to see if Mason was suitable for the C2 programme, which aims to stop prolific offenders committing crime by getting them off drugs and turning their lives around.

Judge Andrew Bright QC was told that Mason, whose partner is expecting a child, had worked well so far and was taking steps to get on top of his drug problem.

He told Mason:  "Normally the court would have been thinking of a jail sentence in terms of years. Rehabilitation is in the public interest.

"But I want to make it clear that if you commit any further offences or fail to comply with the requirements of the order, I have the power to re-sentence you. There will be a substantial period of custody in terms of years if you re-offend. It is called Choices and Consequences for a reason."

The judge made a 36 month Community Order with supervision by probation officers for that period. He must complete 200 hours' unpaid work and abide by a 6 week curfew between 9pm and 6am.

Mason must also take part in a Thinking Skills Programme and carry out 25 days' of education and training aimed at improving his maths and English, in the hope that he can apply to become an HGV driver.

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