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6 September 2012, 09:44
David Cameron has insisted that burglars are "cowards'' after a Teesside judge told a criminal his raids took courage.
The Prime Minister, who revealed he had been burgled twice, branded the offence "hateful''.
The comments on ITV's Daybreak programme came after Judge Peter Bowers sparked an outcry during a case at Teesside Crown Court.
Judge Bowers apparently told an offender who raided three homes in five days:
"It takes a huge amount of courage, as far as I can see, for somebody to burgle somebody's house. I wouldn't have the nerve.''
Handing the 26-year-old man a suspended 12-month term, the judge said:
"I'm going to take a chance on you.''
Mr Cameron stressed that he had not seen the details of the case, but added:
"I am very clear that burglary is not bravery. Burglary is cowardice. Burglary is a hateful crime. People sometimes say it is not a violent crime, but actually if you have been burgled, you do feel it was violence.'
I have a very clear view about this, which is burglary is a despicable and hateful crime.
I have been burgled twice. You feel completely violated. When someone has smashed their way into your house and stolen your possessions. I am very clear that people who repeatedly burgle should be sent to prison.
That is why this Government is actually changing the law to toughen the rules on self-defence against burglars, saying householders have the right to defend themselves.''