Edinburgh, Fife & East Scotland

Housebreakers face tougher sentences in Edinburgh over summer

Image caption During the period house breakers will be prosecuted on indictment, meaning they face a higher penalty

Housebreakers in Edinburgh face up to five years in prison if they are caught during a new summer trial crackdown.

The tougher sentencing rules run until 30 August and apply to anyone charged with theft by housebreaking or housebreaking with intent to steal.

During the period housebreakers will be prosecuted on indictment, meaning they face a higher penalty.

Edinburgh was chosen as it is one of the largest courts in Scotland with a larger sample to measure any impact.

The aim of the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service pilot is to assess the impact of the change of prosecuting housebreakers on indictment.

It is hoped with a "more robust policy" there will be a decrease in the level of this type of offending.

'Traumatic experience'

A comparison will be made with the number of reported cases for last year.

John Logue, procurator fiscal for the east of Scotland said: "Housebreaking is a traumatic experience for victims.

"The effect is not limited to the loss of high-value items or damage to property, but also includes the loss of sentimental items, and, perhaps the most profound effect, the loss of security and safety for victims in their own home.

"In order to try and deter housebreaking over the summer when many people are away on holiday, we will, unless there are exceptional circumstances in a case, indict all housebreakers in Edinburgh over the next three months which increases the maximum penalty from 12 months imprisonment to five years.

"The results of the initiative will be considered and used to inform a national policy for the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service in relation to housebreaking and other similar offences."

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