A burglar has avoided prison after a judge gave him another chance.
Among drug-addict Neville Elliott’s latest victims were a couple from Pellon, Halifax, who had irreplaceable items of cherished jewellery stolen.
Another victim, whose daughter had died, was now trying to move from her Pellon home after Elliott broke in while she was out.
A third break-in left a single woman feeling unsafe in her own home after a lap-top and jewellery were taken.
Prosecutor Ewan McLachlan said the first woman, who had irreplaceable jewellery stolen, described being left in total shock by her loss, which included items in the family more than 50 years.
Mr McLachlan said the woman was devastated she coulcn’t pass the sentimental jewellery onto her daughter and grand-daughters.
Elliott, 44, of Naylor Street, Pellon, was arrested after police found him on the roof of one of the homes.
He said he did not want to go back to prison and was contemplating suicide. But eventually he was talked down.
Elliott, who admitted the burglaries, could have been jailed for three years.
But barrister Peter Hampton told Recorder Sandra Knapton the term would be unjust.
“He is genuinely remorseful,’’ said Mr Hampton. “I’m being frank with the court. It is a risk, but sometimes in life risks are worth taking.
“The real protection for the public in the long term is having these issues addressed and support being given through the probation service. That gives the public real protection.”
Recorder Knapton said she had to consider whether Elliott had reached a critical stage in his life and whether it would be unjust to impose the three-year sentence.
She said it was clear Elliott was suffering from post-traumatic stress but he was willing to work with the probation service.
“I am asked to take a risk with you,” said Recorder Knapton.
Elliott was given an intensive community order for two years, which includes drug rehabilitation.
The Recorder said: “Don’t throw it back in the court’s face. If you do. there’s only one place you’ll go.”