Sheffield criminal banged up again after 118 crimes

Prolific burglar Jason Birch, jailed for nine years.
Prolific burglar Jason Birch, jailed for nine years.

THIS is prolific career criminal Jason Birch - who has a staggering 118 convictions, and has spent most of his adult life behind bars.

Now Birch, aged 39, has been jailed again - this time for nine years to protect the public - after committing a spate of burglaries in Sheffield.

Sheffield Crown Court heard Birch, who for most of his adult life has been in and out of prison and addicted to drugs, started offending at the age of 14.

His most recent prison term was a 16-year stretch for escaping from jail, and committing a series of 17 robberies and burglaries.

And, within a few weeks of his release on licence last May, he was back to his old way of life.

Birch admitted four burglaries in which he stole more than £4,000 worth of property from addresses in Sheffield including Pomona Street near Sharrow, and Cockayne Place in Meersbrook, last July and August.

He also raided a flat above The Sportsman pub on Barnsley Road where he left unpleasant messages on the wall.

His barrister Michael Slater said he had been subjected to an ‘appalling upbringing’.

He said Birch had been subjected to physical and emotional abuse, drug-taking and alcoholism from an early age.

Sentencing him, Judge Alan Goldsack QC said he had sympathy for Birch but had to lock him up to protect the public.

He added: “It shows, yet again, the importance of family in preventing people from turning to a life of crime.”

Mr Slater told the court Birch was released from prison and had kept out of trouble initially.

But he turned back to crime after being unable to get medication.

Mr Slater said: “He resorted to drug-taking, and old acquaintances and the old lifestyle, and ended up burgling homes for funds to feed his habit.”

The barrister said Birch been assessed at ‘high risk’ of causing serious harm to the public and would remain so - unless his diagnosed personality disorders are treated.

He said Birch had spent time at Rampton Hospital but believed his records were being made available to others so they could ‘have a laugh’, and he found it intolerable.

When arrested Birch told police he was glad to be detained.

Mr Slater said he had been beset by mental health problems and had spent much of his later life in secure facilities before ending up in prison.

“He is lonely, isolated, and spends much of his time in custody on a segregated wing,” said Mr Slater.

“He can’t cope interacting with others and fears they are against him.”

Judge Goldsack said Birch, whose address was given as HMP Doncaster, posed a high risk of causing serious harm to the public when at liberty.

He said: “I have sympathy for your background but the predominant purpose here is to protect the public from you.”

Birch was ordered to serve the remaining five years of his jail term along with another four years consecutive for the burglaries.