Lancashire

Burglar meets widow he stole ring from in Lancashire

A teenage burglar who stole a widow's engagement ring and sold it has apologised to his victim saying he felt "bad for making an old lady cry".

The 18-year-old volunteered to meet the pensioner to make amends for breaking into her Lancaster home in July.

The pair met face-to-face at her home and she explained how the theft had left her feeling violated. It came only months after her husband lost a long battle with cancer.

She said she now had some "closure".

The latest statistics show that in June across Lancashire, 543 restorative justice meetings took place.

This included those set up as alternatives to putting offenders through the criminal justice system, as well as post-sentence arrangements.

The young man, who did not want to be identified, was convicted of burglary and ordered to pay compensation to his victim and carry out community service.

'Mend his ways'

He did help police trace the engagement ring and return it to the elderly woman.

"I want to change and make the lady feel better.

"I just wanted to tell her I was sorry.

"Now that I've met her, I feel even worse - I feel bad for making an old lady cry after what I've done.

"I will keep in mind things she has told me and try to act on the advice she gave me about getting training."

The 76-year-old, who also did not want to be identified, said she wanted to see his face and make him understand what the break-in had done to her.

"I was most devastated about the theft of my lovely engagement ring.

"It's the only real jewellery that I have ever owned.

"It was also the idea of the violation of my own home, the fact that someone had wandered through my home and gone through my belongings.

"With the recent death of my husband, this incident intensified the distress that I felt."

She said she was surprised at "how intelligent and well turned out he looked".

"I feel that by doing this, the young man has faced up to his criminality.

"With support and firm, loving guidance he should mend his ways," she added.

Det Con Corinne Cleasby added: "All restorative justice meetings are considered carefully before they take place, so that we know that both sides will benefit from it.

"The meeting was very emotional with positive feedback from both parties.

"This was the first time that the two had met, never meeting during the course of the investigation, and both now feel that they can move on from what happened."

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