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Elm man lodges complaint over burglary prosecution

John Barnes from Elm, Wisbech ANL-160317-165415009
John Barnes from Elm, Wisbech ANL-160317-165415009

A retired police officer has lodged a complaint over the handling of a burglary at his Elm home.

John Barnes was on holiday when his home was raided over the weekend of March 5 and 6.

But the man, Steven Mansell – who was arrested at Mr Barnes’s home by a group of concerned neighbours – was sentenced to 20 weeks in prison by King’s Lynn Magistrates Court on March 7.

Mr Barnes did not return home in time to assess how much was stolen and is unhappy the case wasn’t adjourned for the full extent of the theft to be discovered.

He estimates that items worth thousands were taken in the raid but Mansell was only charged with burglary and theft of a Swiss army knife.

Mr Barnes has now lodged complaints with the police, the Crown Prosecution Service and the court clerk.

Mr Barnes said: “I am sure what has happened here is that the magistrates have been completely and utterly misled as to the full extent of the crime.

“At no stage whatsoever has any evidence been taken from this household as to what was stolen.”

Mr Barnes has been told that the theft started on March 5, when tools were taken from his sheds and some items from the house. One man ran off after being spotted by a 90-year-old neighbour, who then called in two others, and they arrested Mansell.

He said: “I am very humbled by my neighbours’ response.”

The police have confirmed that they have received the complaint and say it is being looked at.

A spokesman from the CPS said: “It would be for the police to interview Mr Barnes about what was taken from his home, not the CPS.

“We can only prosecute on the information provided to us by the police, and there was no indication from the police that anything was stolen except for the army knife. The police did not ask us to apply for an adjournment so they could make further inquiries.

“Mr Mansell pleaded guilty at his first appearance and was sentenced to 20 weeks’ imprisonment. There was no compensation order for the damage caused by the break-in due to the sentence of imprisonment.”

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