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Housebreakers targeted by prosecution service

From Monday 3rd June, anyone accused of housebreaking will be targeted by the prosecution service in a three month trial in Edinburgh.

During the trial period there will be a presumption that anyone charged with theft by housebreaking, or housebreaking with intent to steal, between 3rd June and 30th August 2013, will be prosecuted on indictment – which means the accused could face a higher penalty of up to five years imprisonment.

The aim of the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS) pilot is to assess the impact of the change of prosecuting housebreakers on indictment. It is thought that, with a more robust policy, there will be a decrease in the level of this type of offending.

A comparison will be made with the number of reported cases for last year. Edinburgh has been selected as it is one of the largest courts in Scotland and will provide a larger sample to measure any impact.

“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,” said John Logue, Procurator Fiscal for the East of Scotland. “The results of the initiative will be considered and used to inform a national policy for COPFS in relation to housebreaking and other similar offences.”

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