A householder chased a burglar out of his home and into a local pub where he bought him a pint. Fred Foreman was at home in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, when his wife Tracy discovered 34-year Alexander Hockett on the premises, Ipswich Crown Court heard on Monday. Hockett was then chased by Mr Foreman all the way to the Corn Exchange Wetherspoons pub in the centre of town, where the pair had a beer together. Hockett was later arrested by police and was sentenced to four years in prison. Mr Foreman admitted he felt sorry for Hockett who told him he was homeless and desperate.
He and his wife both questioned whether prison was the right place for the burglar, who had only been released a month before he targeted them on November 12 last year.
Mr Foreman, who is in his 50s, said: “It was an adrenaline rush, I just kept on chasing him. I guess I was angry which is why I wanted to catch him.
He stopped in someone’s front garden and told me not to touch him. I asked ‘what’s going on?’ and he said he was sleeping rough. Then he just ran off again.
I kept on chasing him and he ran into Wetherspoons for some reason,” said Mr Foreman.
“I went in and looked around and there he was trying to hide with a menu.
He said to me ‘you can’t half run for an old geezer’.
“We were both huffing and puffing and I just asked ‘do you want a pint?’. So I went up and we both had a pint. He said he was homeless and had been sleeping rough at the end of the garden. I felt sorry for him.
He is not a nasty bloke, at least he wasn’t to me. It was an opportunistic crime.”
Mr Foreman then got a call from the police telling him to stay with Hockett.
“They thought I was sat on top of him or something but we were just having a drink,” said Mr Foreman. “I didn’t realise he actually made it into the home at that point.
It is serious, it leaves mental scars – for three or four weeks my wife was locking the doors behind me when I went out for a smoke. It does affect you, it is disturbing.”
As a result of the break-in the Foreman’s have put in better fencing and secure gates.
“It makes you realise how important locking your doors even when you are home is, we always do that now,” added Mrs Foreman.
Peter Clark, prosecuting, praised Mr Foreman’s “commendable attitude” in seeking to understand what made Hockett break into his home.
Hockett, of no fixed address, admitted the burglary at Mr Foreman’s home and to stealing cash and jewellery worth £800 in August 2013 at a house in Haverhill. He asked for 15 offences of burglary committed in July and August 2013 to be considered.
Jailing him for four years Judge Martyn Levett said Hockett had committed a number of house burglaries in the past and had been jailed for 18 months in 2004, four years in 2009 and four years in 2014.
Phillip Farr, for Hockett, said his client wanted to change his ways and put his criminal behaviour behind him.