'Clearly prison hasn't worked': Serial Sunderland burglar with 118 convictions spared jail for latest raid

A serial burglar with 118 convictions has been spared jail after breaking into a property while on bail, because "prison hasn't worked" .

Monday, 19th December 2016, 4:37 pm
Updated Thursday, 29th December 2016, 2:03 pm
Steven Lamb

Steven Lamb, 35, poured 10 tubs of chemicals into a hot tub for no reason other than to be "spiteful" after breaking into a property a month after he was bailed for burgling a shed.

Lamb, of Roker Avenue, Sunderland, has been in an "endless cycle of burglary and prison," his Honour Judge Robert Adams told Newcastle Crown Court.

He broke into a summerhouse on Ashdale Court on October 8, stole alcohol then spent ten minutes pouring ten tubs of cleaning products into the hot tub, causing extensive damage, Michael Bunch, prosecuting, told the court.

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Mr Bunch said: "The defendant spent about ten minutes or so pouring out hundreds of pounds worth of cleaning products into the hot tub.

"It served no purpose for the burglary but was just a malicious act."

CCTV images clearly showed Lamb entering the property and he was identified by police and arrested, the court heard.

Clothing matching that worn in the images was found at his address.

Christopher McKee, defending, said he would not shy away from Lamb's record and lack of rehabilitation.

He said: "Clearly prison hasn't worked, it's evident from the record."

He did point out that Lamb had been taking positive steps with regards to a drug rehabilitation requirement, having attended every session on time.

Judge Adams said Lamb has a "dreadful" record of repeat offending, but decided to take a chance on him.

He said: "You are 35, you have got a dreadful record of burglary and dishonesty in general.

"You seem to do custodial sentences that make no difference to you. At the age of 35 you have got to start deciding whether your life is going to be worth more than this endless cycle of burglary and prison."

He added: "[On this occasion] You broke in, took alcohol and for no reason at all you damaged a hot tub by pouring endless quantities of chemicals into it,

not assisting your burglary but just a spiteful act."

The court was told that Lamb had previously tried to break into the main property, but when he was unsuccessful he forced entry to the summerhouse, stealing alcohol.

Judge Adams sentenced Lamb to a two-year prison sentence, suspended for 18 months after he pleaded guilty to criminal damage, burglary and attempted burglary and said he hoped Lamb could stop the cycle of re offending himself.

He added: "Stay out of trouble, cooperate with those requirements and you won't go back to custody again.

"If you do re-offend you will be back here and I will simply have to send you back to custody."