Man who was spared jail is arrested moments after walking out of court

·2-min read
Robert Birtley (pictured) was met at Worcester Crown Court by city detectives - minutes after he had been given a suspended prison sentence for handling high value stolen goods. (SWNS)
Robert Birtley was met at Worcester Crown Court by city detectives, just minutes after receiving a suspended prison sentence for handling high-value stolen goods. (SWNS)

A man was arrested outside court just minutes after a judge refused to jail him.

Robert Birtley, 50, was handed a suspended sentence for disposing of thousands of pounds worth of items after a house burglary.

Pictures show Birtley being arrested as he walked out of Worcester Crown Court by detectives who wanted him for an outstanding warrant.

Officers then led him towards Worcester Police Station in handcuffs.

Read: Burglar jailed after making cup of tea and falling asleep during theatre break-in

Birtley, from Worcestershire, had already been reprimanded for being late for Friday’s hearing after he overslept.

He admitted selling stolen goods at Cash Converters following a house raid.

Judge Nicolas Cartwright handed him a 12-month prison sentence, suspended for two years.

Cartwright said he was sparing Birtley from an immediate jail term after hearing that Birtley had a dog at home.

Watch: Stolen Picasso painting found after nine years by Greek police

The judge said: "I suspend with some reluctance. If you had to go straight to custody the dog would have to be rehoused by a charity or the RSPCA, which would be a cruelty to the animal."

Birtley was also handed a six-month home curfew between 2pm and 2am and ordered to pay £1,200 court costs.

Emily Heggadon, prosecuting, said an Audi S1 worth £20,000, a MacBook Pro worth £3,200 and camera equipment and various lenses worth £3,500 had been stolen from a home in Stroud, Gloucestershire, last November.

Birtley said he was not involved in the burglary but accepted that when he paid for the laptop he knew “it was too good to be true”.

The day after the break-in, Birtley went to Cash Converters in Worcester with burglar Christopher Spires and exchanged the camera equipment and lenses for £600.

Spires was convicted of the burglary while Birtley indicated a guilty plea to handling on what would have been the first day of trial.

Watch: Police find burglar sleeping at crime scene next to half-eaten cheesecake