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Tuesday, 30 September 2014

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Reward for Carlisle man whose phone call led to capture of burglar

A man who dialled 999 when he saw a burglar going into his elderly neighbour’s house in the middle of the night has been given a £200 reward by a judge.

Thanks to Edward Fawkes’s “public-spirited actions” the police arrived just in time to arrest 30-year-old Daniel Critchlow as he came out of the house in St James’s Avenue, Carlisle, in the small hours of October 21.

Critchlow, of no fixed address, was jailed for four and a half years when he pleaded guilty to burglary. It was his 23rd criminal conviction – 14 of which were for burglary.

At the time, he was out of prison on licence from a three-year sentence for burgling two houses at night.

Prosecutor Becky McGregor told Carlisle Crown Court that 73-year-old Hedley Harris was aware that he had mislaid the keys to his house earlier on the day of the burglary.

He was so worried about it he returned from a night out to look for them and used his spare keys to ensure the property was locked before he went out again.

He got home again later and thought the house was secure, Ms McGregor said, but was woken at 2.50am by his daughter telling him someone had been in his house.

That was after Mr Fawkes, who is retired and lives next door, had been alerted by someone triggering a security light.

He looked out and saw Critchlow creeping around outside Mr Harris’s house, looking in the windows with a small torch. He used a key to open Mr Harris’s door, and went inside, she said.

Mr Fawkes called the police, and they arrived just as Critchlow was coming out of the house.

He jumped over a garden wall and ran away, but was caught soon afterwards.

In mitigation, defence advocate Gail Heard said that Mr Harris did not even know someone had been inside his house until after Critchlow had been arrested.”

Judge Paul Batty QC, told Critchlow: “You are a disgrace. You have an appalling criminal record.”

He said Mr Harris had been “profoundly affected” by the burglary.

“Dwelling house burglaries are not so much offences against property – they are offences against individuals,” he said.

Mr Fawkes is likely to be presented with his reward by Cumbria’s High Sheriff Mrs Julia Westoll at a ceremony at the Crown Court.

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