Catherine and Steven returned home with their two young daughters, Sophie 3 and Amy 10, to find their home had been burgled. The TV, games console, jewellery, wine and DVDs were taken as well as (unbelievable as it sounds) an electric toothbrush charger and young Amy’s swimming armbands.

Amy Winteridge was so upset that she would not go back in the house and had to sleep with an aunt.When Catherine was given the chance to meet the thief and tell him what she thought of him Amy insisted on going too. But fearing it may be too traumatic they instead allowed her to write a letter to him, which Catherine read out at the meeting.

Amy's letter contained such harrowing things as:

When I found out that I had been burgled I was crying. And I refused to come home so I had to sleep at my auntie’s and I tryed (sic) to make my mum let me stay another night because I was scared to death.

Now I don’t like to go past the third lamppost on my street any more because I get really scared and I run as fast as I can back to my house. I feel so so so sad that you did this to me.

Who came up with the stupid idea to burgle us?”

“What did you do with all our stuff?”

“Why did you pick our house to burgle?

She also drew a picture of herself crying.Amy's letter

When read out this had such a profound effect on the burglar that the police are using it as the basis of a Christmas card to burglars.

The thief himself was so affected that tears reportedly came to his eyes and he could not look Amy’s mother in the face. He then wrote back saying "I'm sorry. I feel ashamed. I've done something seriously wrong."

This is as close as we’ll get to the pillory or public flogging in this country. But if this type of meeting has this sort of effect on even just a few young criminals and gets them back on the straight and narrow then keep it going. But consider, this may have started him on the route to reform, but the only way that long journey can be completed is if society (us) allow him to  re-join us and get a job and let him put this miserable experience truly behind him. Vilifying him for life will achieve nothing.

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