Licensed to Steal

Scenes likes this could become a thing of the past under new Home Office rules

The Home Office is bringing forward legislation giving burglars statutory rights of entry

For some time senior Home Office civil servants have been concerned at householders "have a go" cases such as Norfolk farmer Tony Martin. Concern has centred on injuries incurred by burglars whilst committing their crimes, under moves to be introduced this May burglars will be given legal powers of entry to domestic & business premises.

A pilot scheme led by Lambeth social services has been in action for just over 2 years, social worker Tristram Rogers co-ordinated the scheme. According to Tristram "Matters came to a head when we had a spate of injuries amongst burglars. Two received broken noses at the hands of enraged householders, one cuts after climbing in through a broken window whilst another broke his ankle climbing a fence carrying a stolen TV. The four received nearly a quarter of a million pounds for the injuries and trauma suffered. We contacted the Home Office, plus a delegation of senior burglars and after a strategy meeting in Tahiti, decided the most appropriate solution was to give burglars legal powers of entry. Under the scheme burglars can apply to local magistrates for entry powers, if the applicant can display a track record of burglary and provide character references as to their dishonesty then entry rights are normally granted"

Burglar Dwain Dixon, 19 was one of the earliest licensed burglars, Dwain gives the scheme the thumbs up "This idea's f***king smashing, before it was always a risk turning a place over, I once got chased by this german shepherd and had to dump the video I was nicking, I tried to sue the householder but he'd fled to the Costa del Victim. Now I can just walk up to a place, flash my id card - then I'm in. If I get any trouble I'm able to call on police backup."

A Home Office spokesman admitted the controversial scheme wouldn't be universally welcome, however he defended the scheme on the grounds of health & safety, claiming it would reduce risk for both burglar & victim. It is believed the scheme won't extend to the homes of politicians, Home Office or social services staff.