Two professional burglars who staged four break-ins during a day trip to the Isle of Wight had their sentences dramatically cut by top judges today (Friday).
Andrew Evan Smith, 26, and Mark Walter Way, 25, received respective sentences of eight and 10 years at Portsmouth Crown Court in December last year after they were convicted of conspiracy to burgle over their five-hour crime spree in April last year.
Way, who has made 27 previous court appearances, was finally arrested after being caught trying to burgle a home in High View, Fareham, in May last year.
Smith, of Cheltenham Road, Portsmouth, and Way, of Gorse Road, Petersfield, Hants, struck at four houses on the island, London's Appeal Court heard, and were trying to break into a fifth home in Shalfleet, Newport, when they were confronted by the terrified female householder.
The duo fled at once, but the woman was left "traumatised" by her experience, Mr Justice Mackay told the court. In the space of five hours they ransacked four homes across Ryde and Shalfleet, snatching jewellery, laptops, games consoles and cash.
Both men were "career burglars", said Mr Justice Mackay.
The judge, sitting with Lord Justice Moses and Mr Justice Singh, said both had dire criminal records for men of their age. They were approaching the stage when they might receive the "maximum available sentences" for any further crimes.
But the sentences passed for conspiracy to burgle were "too high", the judge concluded.
"We feel obliged to intervene," he said, cutting Smith's sentence from eight to six years, and Way's from 10 to eight years.