Jail term is cut for burglar son of ex-coppers

The son of two former police officers, who targeted West Yorkshire care homes in a burglary spree has had his sentence cut by senior judges.

Jonathan Palmer, 37, of Thistle Hill Drive, Pontefract, was jailed for five years at Leeds Crown Court after pleading guilty in April to two burglaries and one attempted burglary.

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Palmer committed burglaries in the Leeds, Wakefield and Pontefract areas after turning back to amphetamine use when his mother was diagnosed with bowel cancer, the court was told.

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He targeted care homes, where he sometimes stole items from staff areas, between May 2009 and February of this year.

Palmer, who also asked for four more burglaries and three attempts to be taken into consideration, had his prison term cut to four years.

Palmer's lawyer, Stuart Field, told the three judges that Palmer had since renounced his criminal ways and was determined to turn his life around.

He had never entered, or even intended to enter, any of the private living quarters of the vulnerable elderly people in the care homes, he said.

And it was hoped that, once rehabilitated in prison, Palmer would be able to go back to working for his parents, who now run a coach travel company, he added.

Mr Justice Collins, sitting at London's Court of Appeal with Lord Justice Richards and Mr Justice Coulson, said the five-year sentence was too long.

Giving the court's judgment, Mr Justice Collins said: "We are told that the appellant has now formed a clear intention to put his criminality behind him, affected to an extent by the knowledge, sadly, that his mother is afflicted with a terminal illness.

"The reality is that a substantial sentence was inevitable.

"Having said that, we take the view that the overall sentence of five years was too high and we propose, in the circumstances, to reduce the total to one of four years imprisonment."