Prolific Belfast burglar jailed for 100th offence

Court

Court

One of Belfast’s most prolific burglars has been sent back to jail after he was caught breaking into a property for the 100th time.

Lee Nathaniel Sloss, from Egeria Street in Belfast, was handed a 30-month sentence after pleading guilty to burgling a house in south Belfast last September.

The 39-year-old father of two – who has 157 previous convictions, 99 of which are for burglaries – was caught red-handed in an alleyway with items he had just taken from a house on Malone Avenue.

Passing sentence at Belfast Crown Court, Judge Gordon Kerr pointed out last September’s break-in was committed whilst Sloss was on licence for similar offences.

Telling Sloss “you just couldn’t restrain yourself”, Judge Kerr said that due to his extensive criminal record it was getting to the stage where prison sentences would be “for longer periods of time” to “protect the public”.

Crown prosecutor Gareth Purvis said the house on Malone Avenue was broken into while the occupier was at work.

Sloss was seen at the rear of the property by two women who gave a description of a man seen fleeing into a nearby alleyway. Police arrived on the scene quickly and detained Sloss.

Mr Purvis said that when detained, Sloss was in possession of a number of items stolen from he house, including two wallets and a quantity of Indian rupees.

Sloss was arrested and during a police interview he was “volatile and aggressive” towards officers.

Mr Purvis also told the court that Sloss began offending aged 11 and had a “very lengthy criminal record”.

Defence barrister Luke Curran accepted that Sloss had a “prolific number of offences” for burglaries, and revealed that during his time in custody Sloss has engaged with various support groups.

Saying Sloss had gambling issues as well as problems with alcohol and drugs, Mr Curran said that when he was not in prison his client found it hard to “re-estabish” himself and also finds it difficult gaining employment, due largely to his criminal record.

Judge Kerr handed Sloss a 30-month sentence, half of which will be spent in prison with the remaining 15 months spent on licence upon his release.