Sentence cut for "professional" burglar caught by Coke bottle DNA

By Michael Upton | 29/01/2018

Sentence cut for 'professional' burglar caught by Coke bottle DNA

A “PROFESSIONAL commercial burglar” from Rotherham who was caught out by DNA on a Coca Cola bottle has won a cut in his jail term on appeal.

Terry Joseph Fletcher (33), of Westgate, was locked up for five years at Sheffield Crown Court on August 31 last year.

Fletcher admitted burglary and two counts of handling stolen goods, Mr Justice Jeremy Baker told London's Appeal Court on Friday.

The five-year sentence included activation of 12 months of a 16-month suspended sentence previously imposed for burglary.

In early July last year, Phone Works, in Effingham Street, was broken into and about 20 mobile phones stolen.

Later that month, Fletcher sold two of the stolen phones, valued at £500, to Cash Converters in Rotherham for £130.

Still in July, an e-cigarette shop in Upper Millgate called Heron Vape was burgled.

Fletcher and others stole 90 per cent of the store’s stock, including e-cigarettes and T-shirts, worth £15,000.

His DNA was found on a Coca-Cola bottle discarded inside the shop, the court heard.

Fletcher, who was said to be a heroin user, had numerous convictions, including seven for burglary, Mr Justice Baker heard.

His barrister, Mr Matthew Burdon, argued that Fletcher’s jail term was far too tough and should be reduced.

Mr Justice Baker said it was “not surprising” that the Crown Court judge considered Fletcher to be a “professional commercial burglar”.

An element of deterrence was required, added the appeal judge, who was sitting with Mr Justice Warby.

But the Appeal Court was “just persuaded” that Fletcher’s overall sentence was too long.

“Although this was a serious offence of commercial burglary, it was a single offence of burglary,” the judge added.

Fletcher’s jail term was cut from five years to four years.

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