'It takes huge courage to burgle somebody's house'

Judge Peter Bowers said prison "very rarely does anybody any good."

A judge has said he expects to be pilloried after letting a serial burglar walk free from court, having said it showed "courage" to break into homes.

Richard Rochford, 26, faced two-and-a-half years in prison following a series of break-ins in Redcar and Cleveland, North Yorks.

But Judge Peter Bowers said:

Instead he handed down a two year supervision order, community service and a year's driving ban at Teeside Crown Court.

An Army veteran who was among Mr Rochford's victims said the judge had made a "grave misjudgment."

Mark Clayton, 47, told the Daily Mail: