Prolific burglar spared jail and told go on a ‘victim empathy course’

A serial thief who admitted carrying out more than 200 burglaries has been spared jail and been told go on a “victim empathy course” despite victims demanding he should not be let off.

Tomas Drungelas appeared before St Albans Crown Court on Monday and admitted burgling more than 200 homes to fund his addiction to alcohol and gambling.

The court heard how the 33-year-old Lithuanian, of Cheshunt, Hertfordshire, broke into and burgled 202 homes in the county between 2013 and 2014.

Judge Andrew Bright QC admitted that some of the crook’s victims had written to him saying they would “be angry” if he was spared jail.

Despite this Judge Bright QC said that he was sparing Drungelas jail and sending him on a rehabilitation programme called Choices and Consequences, commonly known as the C2 Programme.

He also said Drungelas would be tagged for 36 months, be under curfew between 9pm and 6am and must complete 200 hours of unpaid work.

He was also ordered to go on a “victim empathy course” as well as alcohol and gambling “intervention programmes”.

Judge Bright QC said: “The victims of some of the burglaries you have committed have contacted me and expressed their anger if you were to be treated leniently.

“Under normal circumstances you would face five or six years in prison for the offences you have committed, and many people will say that this is not the way to deal with a prolific burglar.

“However, you have been given an opportunity to demonstrate your commitment to turning your life around.”

“Some may say that this is a let off, but it is not, because if you break any of the conditions or reoffend you will find yourself back in this court and you will serve the full sentence for the crimes you have admitted to, which could be five or six years in prison.”

The C2 programme, which is run under “the direction” of Judge Bright and launched in 2007, is aimed at turning around the lives of “prolific offenders” to offer them a “realistic opportunity to break free from the cycle of crime”.

It is aimed at the “most prolific offenders” who are “genuine about wanting to rehabilitate”.

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