Three strikes earn house raider four years in prison

A SERIAL burglar who frightened a teenager into being his lookout has been jailed.

Masum Miah, 22, admitted breaking into a home in Todmorden and stealing more than £300 of items – including the occupant’s penny jar.

Bradford Crown Court heard that Miah, of Nutfield Street, Todmorden, smashed a rear kitchen window of a home in Garden Street, Todmorden.

Witnesses reported seeing two men kicking the back door of the house before Miah entered.

He stole a camera, worth £100, a mobile phone, worth £50, an Ipod, valued at £150, and the penny jar containing approximately £20.

When arrested, Miah told police that he had been at home at the time of the burglary and the witnesses had a grudge against him.

However, a statement given to police by his mother confirmed that Miah had gone out and then returned home to change his shirt before heading out again.

The court heard how Miah was a “three-strike” burglar, meaning he had been convicted for the same crime three times and was therefore guaranteed a minimum jail term of three years.

“You have an absolutely dreadful record,” said Recorder Dean Kershaw.

“You have amassed a dreadful amount of burglaries, thefts and many other offences.

“At this court in October 2007 you were given a five-year sentences for planning a robbery and possession of crack cocaine and you seem to have learned nothing from it.”

Miah was sentenced to four years in prison for the latest break-in.

Recorder Kershaw said: “You are a third striker. The three-year guideline is a minimum sentence, not a maximum.”

Miah’s accomplice, Paul Ingham, 17, was also sentenced.

The teenager admitted a charge of burglary but said he only acted as a lookout because he felt intimidated by Miah.

The court heard that Ingham, whose address could not be published because of his fears, had stood on top of a bin and reached in to open one of the locks.

He was sentenced to 100 hours of unpaid work and made the subject to a youth rehabilitation order.

Recorder Kershaw told him: “You were the lookout but it was a joint enterprise. “My view is that you were led into these offences by Miah. I do accept that you were frightened of him or the consequences that may occur.”