MORE than 85pc of burglars who appear before Suffolk’s crown court are jailed, it has been revealed.

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A “leniency league table”, based on Ministry of Justice figures, shows that Ipswich Crown Court, which deals with offenders across the county, handed out immediate jail sentences in 85.1pc of all burglary cases.

This is compared with the most lenient court in the country, Newport in South Wales, with just under 58pc of the crimes ending in jail straight away.

The toughest court in 2010 was Dorchester in Dorset, where jail sentences were handed out in more than 90pc of cases.

Suffolk police attribute the high imprisonment rate to its thorough investigations.

Det Chief Inspector Bernie Morgan said: “Suffolk police are dedicated to identifying those responsible for burglaries and bringing offenders to justice.

“Burglary is a priority crime in Suffolk and one that can be particularly traumatic, with victims often feeling violated by the incident. By carrying out thorough investigations and submitting composite prosecution files, we are able to ensure that the courts are best placed to make an informed decision.”

Sentencing guidelines are set out nationally by the Sentencing Council, but judges have the final decision.

When asked about the variations in sentences handed out by crown courts across the country, a spokesman for the Sentencing Council said: “Sentencing guidelines should be followed, unless a judge feels it is not in the interests of justice to do so. If a judge believes that the suggested sentence range in the guideline does not reflect the seriousness of an offence, he or she can sentence above that range.”

A spokesman for the Ministry of Justice added: “Breaking into someone’s home is a despicable crime, which is why burglars face sentences of up to 14 years.

“Sentencing in individual cases is a matter for the independent judges, who will consider the full facts of each case before them – including factors like premeditation, the value of goods stolen, any damage to the property, and previous offences.”

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