A BURGLAR, who raided the house of a mum with a disabled son, by climbing through a lift shaft has been spared jail.

William Westein, 21, admitted to stealing thousands of pounds worth of jewellery from a home in Rottingdean, Brighton, while on a drugs bender.

But the labourer was spared an automatic prison sentence by Judge Jeremy Gold, despite his "appalling" record, to give him an opportunity to turn his life around at Hove Crown Court on Friday.

The court heard a woman walked in on three burglars as they rifled through her possessions at her £925,000 home in Falmer Road, in the affluent area of Rottingdean on February 7 last year.

Nicola Granger walked in to the house hearing banging from upstairs, before three males ran past her in the hallway.

Prosecutor, William Saunders, said the men had climbed seven feet up an insecure lift shaft, built to accommodate Ms Granger's son who has cerebral palsy, to get in.

Westein and two accomplices fled the scene before they were later found by police hiding nearby with £5,000 worth of jewellery.

In a victim impact statement read out in court Ms Granger said the ordeal had left her terrified.

She said: "I am more anxious being in public, and spend less time from home as I have a disabled son I worry about when I am away from home.

"The area I live in is affluent and that's why they targeted my home, but I am not wealthy and live where I do to give the best quality of life to my son.

"By no means has it been the most trying time I've been through, but I wouldn't have this stress and anxiety if wasn't for the burglary."

Defending, Claire Langevad, blamed the incident on him lapsing back into drug use. She said: "While it is no excuse he has not had the easiest of upbringings and associated with those in the criminal lifestyle who gave the guidance he did not receive from his father.

"He is a significantly different person now. At the time he fell back into the use of drugs when he became in involved in this offence. He is very anxious to undertake restorative justice and if not meet in person, write to her to apologise."

Despite there being an automatic prison sentence for three-time convicted burglars, she pleaded with the judge to spare him jail after making "substantial" life changes following his mother being diagnosed with dementia and him expecting a child with his girlfriend.

Judge Gold asking Westein, if he was sorry, the labourer replied: "I am sorry to the victim. I did not want to target her, it was just a random house in a nice area. I want her to know I was in a bad place and I don't want her son to be scared in the house."

Westein, of Blackman Street, Brighton pleaded guilty to burglary.

He had 38 convictions for 87 offences.

Sentencing judge Gold spared him jail saying the automatic three strike prison sentence would be unjust because he was juvenile when he last committed the burglary five years ago.

He said: "You are 21 and have a record as bad as I have ever scene for someone of your age.

"We hope young people have the ability to change and I have watched you carefully in court and taken close note of your attitude in you answering questions when I spoke to you.

"You might be trying to pull wool over my eyes, I've lost count of the amount of people telling me they will change and one could become cynical.

"I just have a feeling something about you at this stage of life beginning to grow up and realising you have responsibility to others and might reach a stage in life you turn things around and turn your appalling record into something more positive."

Westein was sentenced to two years imprisonment suspended for two years. sentences.

He was also placed on a curfew and made to attend 30 rehabilitation activity days.

Judge Gold added: "It’s not a soft option. Everyone will keep a close eye on you over the next two years and you must not commit further offences.

"Commit any offence you'll be back infront of me. I will remember what you told me and promises and you made and if you don’t come good on them I will regard my duties to send you to prison."