‘Send me to prison’

A Soham burglar, who claimed he was disabled, begged a judge to be sent to prison - so he could finish his training as a gym instructor.

Andrew McKintosh, 45, who started the fitness course while in prison on remand, and his brother-in-law, Mark Walker, 47, targeted their neighbour’s home in Calfe Fen Close in Soham in January. Both were found guilty of burglary last month.

And despite experts recommending a suspended sentence the judge agreed to lock McKintosh up saying it was “an offer I can’t refuse”.

Representing McKintosh, barrister High Vass accepted during sentencing at Cambridge Crown Court that the circumstances were “bizarre”, in that his client had previously maintained he was unfit to work after being shot in the leg.

“Yet he now appears to be pursuing a career in the gym,” said Mr Vass.

He told the court his client, who was still on a “cocktail of drugs” including painkillers, had already achieved a level one certificate as a fitness instructor after being one of just 12 prisoners selected to do the course out of 185 applicants.

“He has been told that if he remains in custody he will be able to take the next level of his training,” said Mr Vass.

McKintosh, who the court heard had 29 previous convictions for 37 offences, including burglary, was jailed for a year.

Walker, who has 25 previous convictions for 71 offences, was given a six-month prison sentence, suspended for two years, with a three-month curfew and supervision and alcohol treatment requirements for 18 months.

The pair’s haul had included an iPad, camera, pills, aftershave and alcohol which they stole when they noticed their neighbour had left their door open in the middle of the day.

Judge Gareth Hawkesworth told them: “You both got drunk together and then for no conceivable reason whatsoever, behaving like drunken teenagers, you entered someone else’s property and stole relatively valuable items from it. And it was particularly unpleasant in your case Mr Walker because you knew the victim.”