A BURGLAR who has committed nearly 40 break-ins to fund his drug habit has been given the chance to go straight.
Joshua Clarke has been addicted to drugs since his own dad introduced him to heroin at the age of nine.
Since then the 28-year-old has committed 155 offences, including 38 burglaries, to get money for drugs.
He was facing another jail term after pleading guilty to burgling Sheer Glamour hairdressers in Forton Road, Gosport.
But a judge at Portsmouth Crown Court took the decision to give him treatment for his addiction to tackle the cause of his behaviour.
Judge Sarah Munro QC told him: ‘All your offending is down to your long-standing addiction, principally to heroin.
‘Tragically you were introduced to that drug by your father when you were a child and he introduced you to crime. Even when you are in prison you manage to get heroin so locking you up doesn’t achieve the aim of getting you off drugs.
‘Your case is one of the most depressing I have seen.
‘The options for me and for you are stark: either you go back to prison for a few months and carry on as you have been or I take a large chance.’
As reported in The News Clarke, of Inverness Road, Gosport, was caught after a member of the public followed him from the scene of the crime.
Gregory Buss continued to pursue the thief even after he threatened to stab him with a pair of scissors.
Clarke pleaded guilty to burglary, possession of an offensive weapon and a public order offence following his arrest in April.
The judge gave Clarke a two-year community order, with two years of supervision from the probation service and 12 months of drug rehabilitation treatment.
He will have regular drug testing to check if he is staying clean and if he doesn’t comply with the conditions of his order he will go to jail.
Judge Munro added: ‘I am not hopeful I’m afraid, but you can prove me wrong.
‘I am going to promise you that this is the last chance.
‘Do everything you are told and you might just break away from this awful cycle.
‘Do your very best, if you don’t you know what will happen.’
Clarke thanked the judge as he left the court.