Reformed offender’s support for Norwich beat the burglar campaign
Crime reporter PETER WALSH speaks to a former offender who is trying to beat his drug addiction in order to put his life of crime behind him.
He has been responsible for a total of 84 convictions, most for burglary, over a 15-year-period, but now, Daniel, not his real name, is determined to keep on the straight and narrow for the sake of his partner and family.
Daniel, who turns 31 this year, has received four prison sentences for burglary with him being released from the most recent - a 28 month term - in December last year.
Daniel, who has not committed any offences since, is working hard with the police service and probation as part of a specialist programme to stop him re-offending and turn his life around.
He said: 'When my offending became too much they put me onto this 180 scheme and I've been working with probation and the police for about four years.
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'I was a heroin addict who has tried giving up but it's been hard. I've just managed to get clean and haven't used for about three-and-a-half months. It's been hard but that's what all my offending has been over.'
Daniel said a place on the programme has helped him focus his mind and he now concentrates on the important things in his life - like his partner, his child and supportive family - rather than the drugs which lay at the centre of his criminality.
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He said: 'None of my family have ever been on drugs so it was a big shock to them. It's not easy, I'm not saying I'm cured...I've got the 180 team, I've got my missus, a kid, I've got my family - I've got a lot of support.'
Daniel said one of the biggest problems in trying to move his life in the right direction was the difficulty in finding a job in today's tough economic climate with convictions for burglary.
He said: 'It's not easy at the moment and with my criminal record as well that I have to disclose it makes things hard.'
Daniel has agreed to support the Norwich Evening News's Beat the Burglar campaign by issuing advice about what people can do to try and prevent themselves becoming victims.
He said: 'Don't have UPVC doors and windows.
'People are just doing door locks now and are not messing about with the windows. Chubb locks on doors at the bottom and top. If they do the door lock they've then got to do the other two.'
Daniel said one of the key things to remember was to try and make sure the property was 'secure' by using whatever locks or measures you had in place.
He said: 'Windows and doors - that's all you can do to get into a house so make sure it's secure.'
Daniel said a dog and gravel were effective measures to an extent but added if a burglar wanted to get in then he would do whatever it takes, particularly if they needed money for drugs like he did.
But he said anything that could be done to make it seem like the house was occupied, like leaving the TV or radio on, even if it was not would be effective in deterring many would be burglars.
He said: 'It's different prison sentences. When you're talking about people in the house, that's aggravated.'
Daniel said he did think about burglary victims but admitted his drugs habit meant he found it difficult to resist the temptation.
He said: 'I'm human myself, but at the end of the day I had an addiction I couldn't cope with. Deal with the drug and you will deal with the burglar as well.'
You can report any information about burglaries or suspicious activity, people or vehicles to police via 101 or by calling Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111. If you think a crime is in progress always call 999.
If you would like to speak to an officer regarding crime prevention advice you can contact your local Safer Neighbourhood Team by calling 101 or by visiting www.norfolk.police.uk