A TEENAGE criminal who burgled a house just four days after his 18th birthday has been spared an immediate jail term.
Darren Heeps was told he had come within a “hair’s breadth” over going straight to custody over the offence in the Bramley area of Leeds.
Leeds Crown Court heard Heeps was classed a ‘third-strike’ burglar and was liable to an automatic three-year sentence unless the court was prepared to take an exceptional course.
Christopher Jackson, prosecuting, said Heeps went to woman’s home on Snowden Crescent on January 11 this year and knocked on the door.
The court heard the woman recognised Heeps as he had gone to school with her son.
Mr Jackson said Heeps asked the woman if he could speak to her son but she told him to go away and never to knock on her door again. The prosecutor added: “It seems that he took her at her word.”
Mr Jackson said the woman fell asleep on the sofa later that evening and awoke in the early hours of the morning to find Heeps standing over her.
Mr Jackson said Heeps had let himself in as the door had been left unlocked. He left the property without taking anything but was arrested shortly after the incidnet.
The court heard Heeps has convictions for burglary dating back to 2010. It was his thrid conviction for targeting a domestic property but it was his first appearance before an adult court.
Heeps, of Fairfield Hill, Bramley, pleaded guilty to burglary. Narinder Rathour, mitigating, said: “He had just turned 18 and had gone on a binge of drink and taking substances.”
He said Heeps would be vulnerable in custody and there would be a risk of him mixing with more serious offenders.
Mr Rathour urged Recorder timothy Roberts, QC, to take the exceptional course of not imposing a three-year sentence to give Heeps the chance to prove his ability to stay out of trouble.
He added: “He says it is time to wake up and stop acting like a child.”
Recorder Roberts gave Heeps a nine month prison sentence, suspended for 18 months, and made him the subjbect of a supervision order.
He said: “You must realise that it is time for you to take responsibility for your own behaviour.