BURGLAR Daniel Marks has managed to avoid a jail sentence after he discovered prison was "not very nice".
Judge Jamie Tabor QC told Marks that his crime was "abhorrent" but it would be better to equip him for the world outside than send him into custody.
"There is every reason for you to be sent to prison and I would do so but for the fact that between this offence and the present you have already seen what prison is like and you have decided it's not very nice," said the judge at Gloucester crown court.
"However, I do not want to send out the wrong message. Almost all people who commit dwelling burglaries are sent to prison."
The judge told Marks it was not simply the loss of property that people suffered, but the intrusion into their private space that they found very difficult to live with.
Marks, of Folly Lane, St Paul's, had pleaded guilty to the burglary of a house in Swindon Road, Cheltenham, in September 2011. The court heard he had been given a community order with 150 hours of unpaid work in February 2012 for breaking into an empty house in Cheltenham 13 months earlier.
Prosecutor Kannan Siva told the court that at about 10pm on September 22, a resident was alerted to a disturbance in his house and found a window in the basement had been smashed.
"The occupant of the room had left it secure and when he returned he found that all the drawers had been turned out and there was glass all over the place," he said.
"Nothing had been taken but he discovered a smear of blood on some of the broken glass, and DNA tests showed a very strong link to the defendant."
Defending, Ekwall Trwana told the judge that Marks had spent quite a long time in custody already, and that he needed further education and training, rather than jail.
"He is a young man who is now willing to change," he said.
Judge Tabor told Marks he knew what would happen if he committed any more burglaries, adding: "We have a better way of dealing with you that will still punish you, but will also equip you better for the world outside."
He sentenced Marks to six months' imprisonment suspended for two years and said that if he committed another burglary he would start with a six month sentence, plus the sentence for the new offence.
He also imposed a three month electronically tagged curfew from 8pm to 6am.