A FORMER magistrate has been praised by a judge for ending a crimewave by catching a burglar red-handed.
Geoffrey Appleby was alerted by his neighbours who saw the intruder on CCTV linked to their mobile phone while abroad hundreds of miles away.
Robert Vose, 62, and his wife Jane watched the screen in horror as Josh Barnes walked through their home for a second time – having only days earlier been confronted by Mr Vose.
Now as Barnes is jailed for ‘destroying’ residents’ quality of life, they have praised retired Fareham magistrate Mr Appleby who held him down, along with another woman and Mike Hughes, 61.
Mr Appleby, 76, had rushed to the back of the house in Curdridge at around 5pm.
‘[Barnes] came to the door and said “I’m the good guy, I’m trying to put it all back”, he then disappeared in the house,’ the pensioner said.
‘He came out on the roof and luckily for us he fell over – I think if he hadn’t fallen over I would have let him run.
‘I tried to hold his arms. We got him spread-eagled on the ground and he objected to being sat on and being held down and he struggled.
‘He was fairly violent, he was determined to get away.
‘This was the unpleasant bit, because I was holding his hands, the only weapon he had was his teeth. He bit my arm and had four goes at it.
‘I was shocked to get bitten, I wasn’t expecting it.’
Barnes, 22, of Cobbett Close, Swanmore, struck at the house in the street, which The News agreed has not to name, on February 24 and March 8.
Recorder Adam Feest QC praised Mr Appleby as he jailed Barnes for three years.
Barnes drew blood but his teeth did not break Mr Appleby’s skin.
Addressing Mrs Vose, 58, whose family jewellery was taken, the judge said: ‘Can I extend through you my commendation to Mr Appleby who went over and above the call of duty.’
Mrs Vose said: ‘They managed to jump on top of him as he jumped off the first floor balcony and sat on him until the police came.’
She added: ‘Geoffrey did an amazing job of restraining and holding this chap down.’
The court heard Barnes stole sentimental items of gold jewellery from Mrs Vose’s home and broke windows to get in.
He also broke into St Peter’s Church in Curdridge forcing it to be locked each day. The Portsmouth burglary unit, Op Hawk, led the probe.
Mrs Vose added: ‘One man has done so much to destroy our quality of life.’
Barnes admitted burglary and common assault, and asked for the other burglary to be taken into consideration.
He admitted theft of bank cards and watch from his grandmother, and the church burglary. Barnes admitted criminal damage to his ex’s home, breach of a conditional discharge, and two charges of breaching a restraining order by visiting his ex at work.
He was ‘out of his head’ and a victim of dangerous driving but accepts he must change, Andrew Coley said.
Mr Coley said: ‘He accepts he was utterly wrong.’