Burglar’s first raid lands him in prison

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A MAN who joined a gang of Doncaster burglars to ‘learn the ropes’ was the only one caught red-handed when a police dog went after them.

Christopher Robert Benson, who has no previous convictions, found himself behind bars when his first burgling expedition ended in the dog’s jaws.

The unemployed chef was desperate for cash and so agreed to take part, but became the only one of the five raiders who entered a house in Balby to get caught.

Benson, aged 22, of Norborough Road, Wheatley, was sentenced to 17 months in prison when he appeared at Doncaster Crown Court and admitted burglary, attempted theft, and going equipped for theft by carrying a pair of bolt croppers.

The offences occurred in the early hours of March 1. The alarm was raised when a 57-year-old woman living in Burns Way, Balby, heard noises and looked out of a window to see five men with the doors and boot of her Vauxhall Astra open.

She shouted at them and they ran away without taking anything but she still called the police, said Neil Coxon, prosecuting.

A police dog handler arrived and the animal immediately picked up the scent of one of the gang and followed it to a back garden in Harvest Close.

The dog handler saw Benson walk out of the patio doors and he told him to stop. He ran away, but only made it a short distance before the dog stopped him and he was arrested.

The occupant of the house – a taxi driver who was in bed at the time – was unaware his portable DVD player, camera, watch, jewellery and mobile phone had been stolen until police told him. It was all recovered in the garden.

When interviewed by police Benson said he met four men he did not know and they had gone out to steal because he was short of money.

Mr Coxon said: “He said he was acting as lookout and learning the job. He was found in possession of the bolt croppers because he was the only one with pockets big enough. He was at pains to point out he was unaware they were going to burgle people’s houses, he thought they were going for cars and sheds.”