Exmouth serial burglar sent to drug rehab

PUBLISHED: 14:41 02 December 2016 | UPDATED: 14:41 02 December 2016

Exeter Crown Court. Picture by Alex Walton. Ref exeter crown court

Exeter Crown Court. Picture by Alex Walton. Ref exeter crown court

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A serial burglar from Lympstone has been given a chance to overcome his drug habit and warned he faces a five year jail term if he fails.

Dominic Smith has been ordered to spend six months at a residential rehabilitation centre in North Devon before he is sentenced for breaking into a house in Exmouth.

He is liable for a three year sentence under the ‘three strikes and you’re out’ rule because he is a repeat offender but has been given a chance to stay out of jail by a judge at Exeter Crown Court.

He is to be treated at the Freedom Community at Croscombe Barton, near Lynton after Recorder Mr Philip Mott, QC, deferred his sentence until May next year.

The judge told Smith: “You have pleaded guilty to a dwelling house burglary. You are a three strike burglar who is liable for a minimum sentence of three years, although looking at your record I would think it would be worth five years.

“I have read with interest the report from the addiction service which says what you have done to detoxify yourself and how you have made contact with the Freedom Community.

“I have read about their work although I have never visited it. I understand it is a pretty strict regime for the first few weeks with no mobile phones and no contact with the outside world.

“You really want to do this and I am going to give you and opportunity to do it. If I receive good reports after six months that you have not broken their rules, I will allow the work to continue and there will be no immediate imprisonment.”

He deferred sentence and ordered Smith to be released from custody and given a travel warrant so he can go straight to Lynton.

Mr Barry White, defending, said Smith himself had taken the initiative and sought out the chance of a residential placement because he wants to kick his 20-year-long heroin habit once and for all.

Mr White told an earlier hearing: “He has been a heroin user since he was 17 who got partially clean on a methadone prescription during his last sentence.

“He got totally clean for four months after he was released but relapsed following an opiate based prescription which sent him off track.

“He is 36 and been a heroin user for almost 20 years, so he is either going to die or get clean.”

Smith, aged 36, of Glebelands, Lympstone, admitted stealing a laptop, briefcase, Kindle, phone, purse and bank cards in a burglary at a house in Bicton Place, Exmouth, on July 22.

He asked for a burglary, attempted burglary, and possession of an offensive weapon to be considered.

These relate to stealing keys and two handbags at Summerhayes Rest Home in Exmouth on December 12, 2015, and entering Subway in Exmouth with intent to steal on January 22 this year, when he was found with two pairs of secateurs after his arrest.

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