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Prolific burglar back behind bars after rejecting police 'new life' offer

A prolific burglar who rejected an opportunity to turn his drug-addled life around is starting a three year jail sentence.

Wolverhampton Crown Court where the case is heard

Lewis Billingham was one of three criminals chosen to take part in C3, a scheme aimed at weaning serial Black Country offenders off the Class A drugs that drive them to repeatedly steal to pay for their next fix.

The 25-year-old defendant vowed to engage with the programme and his sentence was deferred for four months on December 18 to let him show he was as good as his word, Wolverhampton Crown Court was told.

Billingham was released on bail, given a place to live by police away from his drug dealers in Stourbridge and had job interviews arranged for him.

In exchange he was regularly tested for drugs, had a GPS tag so police always knew where he was and revealed 20 homes in Stourbridge he had burgled without arrest between August 1 and September 27, explained Mr Geoffrey Dann, prosecuting.

But the defendant’s promise to engage with the programme soon backfired as he consistently tested positive for drugs, sold a TV given to him for his new home for a fix, cut off his tag and disappeared until being arrested on a warrant last week.

Mr Exdol Mitchell, defending, said: “There was some hope after the first two days but it was not sustained.”

Police Support Investigation Officer Steve Davis, who is on C3, added: “Once he said he was on his way on the bus but the tag showed he was still in bed.”

Billingham from Wynall Lane, Wollescote, Stourbridge, pleaded guilty to two burglaries, an attempt burglary and asked for 20 other burglaries to be taken into consideration.

The two other criminals taking part in the pilot programme have seized their chance with one having already passed his first job interview.

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