Twin brothers pay £400 to victim after burglary to feed drug habit

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Twin brothers have been ordered to pay £400 to the victim of a burglary after they broke into his house to steal tools to feed their drug habit.

Self-employed bricklayers Dylan and Jaydan Vandermerwe, aged 20 and both of Park Avenue in east Belfast, had pleaded guilty to a single charge of burglary.

In addition to the compensation order, the house breakers were also ordered to carry out 100 hours community service.

Belfast Crown Court heard the brothers had cased a house at Knocklofty Park in the Belmont area of east Belfast believing it to be empty and broke in at 6.10am on September 16, 2017.

The householder told police he was woken from his sleep by a noise downstairs and heard voices coming from an extension under construction and went to investigate.

Tools had been taken and a box of tools was also found outside his garage door.

Police later arrested the twins at home and recovered the stolen tools.

The court heard the brothers had come to Northern Ireland from South Africa at the age of five and now lived with their adopted parents.

Judge Geoffrey Miller QC said that both defendants had “relevant convictions’’ for burglary which he said was an “aggravating factor’’.

Dylan Vandermerwe has 26 previous convictions including offences of burglary, serious assault and possession of an offensive weapon. At the time of the burglary he was in breach of a suspended sentence for handling stolen goods.

His brother Jaydan has 38 previous convictions, including three for burglary, and was in breach of a conditional discharge for criminal damage and common assault at the time of the burglary.

The court heard the Probation Service had assessed the twins as a “high likelihood of reoffending” but were not asssessed as posing a serious risk of serious harm to the public in the future.