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  1. #1
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    09:00 - 19 January 2008

    A Judge told a serial burglar who was headbutted by one of his victims that it "served him right".

    Wayne Spencer, 26, was climbing down a drainpipe when he was spotted by homeowner Richard Higgins.

    Mr Higgins, a martial arts expert, said: "When I asked him what he was doing he said he was looking for his brother's house.

    "I just said to him 'No you're not mate', and that was when I headbutted him."

    Judge Dudley Bennett said: "This was a serious burglary. It occurred in the hours of darkness and involved a struggle with the homeowner.

    "It is perfectly reasonable for homeowners to use reasonable force to protect their property and protect themselves.

    "He was perfectly reasonable to headbutt you. It serves you right, in fact."

    Spencer, of Newark Crescent, Sneinton, had been raiding homes in the area for weeks, and targeted Mr Higgins' Finsbury Avenue house on December 13.

    Mr Higgins was returning from work at 5.45pm when he saw Spencer jump from the drainpipe, Nottingham Crown Court heard.

    After the headbutt there was a struggle. Mr Higgins said: "I had a bit of a tussle with him but then I suddenly realised he might have a knife and that's when I threw him off."

    Spencer tried to jump over a wall but fell.

    "I was just laughing at him really," said Mr Higgins. "I wasn't scared. I've been burgled before and that was much worse. This was quite amusing."

    His bathroom window had been damaged, a bedroom searched and a 20 watch stolen.

    Spencer was arrested and admitted burglary. Police then drove him round Sneinton and he pointed out 12 other houses he had targeted.

    Dominic Shelley, mitigating, said: "He knows how serious his offending is, in relation to the fact the homeowner was there during this particular incident.

    "He was, in fact, targeting properties which appeared to him to be vacant."

    He said Spencer, who had a long-term heroin addiction and previous convictions for burglary, be given credit for his admissions.

    He said: "The majority of these offences would not have been detected were it not for his full frankness."

    Spencer was sentenced to four years in prison.

    DC Karl Thomas, of Sneinton burglary team, said: "Spencer is a prolific offender who is responsible for a significant increase in Sneinton burglaries over the last six months.

    "Residents will see a difference in their community, with less crime and fewer victims."

    Nottingham Evening Post

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