Surely this thief should have been sent to jail?

COMMENT: The return of good weather shouldn’t bring dread

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There is one overriding question today about prolific offender Chris Walker and it is a pretty simple one: What on earth is he doing still roaming our streets?

Consider the facts about this thief. He has 177 crimes against his sorry name; he has been given a variety of punishments by the courts; magistrates tried the Asbo route, designed to make people who behave anti-socially think twice about their behaviour, in the belief that an improvement will result from the threat of action if they do not behave.

The result? He goes on breaking into cars, searching for valuables to sell, in order to pay for his drugs habit.

Little wonder then that police have warned that no car is safe from this man’s criminal intentions, and have urged the public to let them know if he is seen in a car park.

It is not the fault of police that he is still free to carry on with his criminal ways.

They have several times brought him before the courts, having provided the Crown Prosecution Service with sufficient evidence to bring him to book.

None of those court appearances has apparently led to him learning his lesson or deciding to change his ways.

So why has he not been locked up? We are comfortable with the notion of giving offenders a second chance if that is for the greater good, but this man has had more than enough chances.

Surely it is exactly this sort of case that brings the law itself into disrepute, because the punishment (and we use the word advisedly) meted out is nowhere near what decent law-abiding citizens would feel appropriate in the circumstances.

And what sort of message does it send to other crooks who think that they can steal people’s property with impunity?

It’s hardly going to make any of them think twice before committing a crime, is it?

Through the cost of court appearances and orders, we the public have paid a lot to keep Chris Walker on the streets.

We’d rather pay to have him locked up, thanks all the same.