In the Media

Judge criticises beer and TV 'flat-screen curfews'

PUBLISHED October 31, 2012

Judge Paul Darlow made the comments as he dealt with burglar Nicholas March, who claimed he would struggle to do unpaid work as part of his sentence.

Despite being able to wriggle through windows to burgle people's homes, March was spared a community penalty after his barrister said he was suffering from a physical injury. Instead he was given a tougher curfew regime than normal.

The judge said: "I don't like flat-screen curfews. It's not simply a case of you staying at home with a few tins from the off-licence - it's going to be slightly more onerous."

March, 52, from Plymouth, Devon, was sentenced to be tagged for the next five months. In addition to an overnight curfew from 5pm to 4am, the judge ruled he must also stay indoors between 11am and 2pm.

It means he will be subject to the restrictions over Christmas and New Year.

Jason Beal, defending, said March suffered from a physical injury but that he would carry out unpaid work "if he could".

But after hearing how the defendant helped care for his parents and drove to their home on a regular basis, the judge queried the extent of his physical disability.

"Here he is doing the gardening, the housework, the shopping, wriggling through windows as the jury found - that requires some level of athleticism. What he seems unable to do is unpaid work."

March had been convicted of a night-time dwelling burglary at Plymouth Crown Court earlier in October, after denying the offence throughout his trial.

He had a string of previous convictions but had mostly stayed out of trouble for the previous decade, saying he was "too old for this business".