Not much of an exaggeration... http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1257309/Dont-burglars-jail-unless-hurt--courts-told.html Burglars should not be jailed unless they cause damage or hurt someone when committing their crime, Government advisers said yesterday. The Sentencing Advisory Panel called for judges and magistrates not to hand down prison sentences to ordinary burglars who were responsible for 'minimal loss or damage'. But even criminals who operate in gangs or steal large sums of money may walk free under the guidelines, which suggest 'community' punishment for many offenders. The recommendations contradict last year's ruling by Lord Chief Justice Lord Judge, which stated that jail should be the 'normally appropriate' punishment for convicted burglars. Instead, the Sentencing Advisory Panel said yesterday that 'any starting point for domestic burglary should be non-custodial'. Damage, harm to householders or other factors making the crime more serious should make a jail sentence more likely, it suggested. But its report acknowledged that some experts had expressed 'grave concern' over the advice. The recommendations to let burglars walk free come as, for the first time in several years, burglaries are increasing. Police recorded more than 284,000 burglaries last year, a one per cent increase on the previous year, and the Panel report said the crime was 'still sufficiently common to affect many individuals and households'. The Panel has for the past decade existed to advise judges on sentencing. However, it will be abolished in April and replaced by a new Sentencing Council. Its report is nevertheless likely to be considered by its successor. Criminologist Dr David Green, from think tank Civitas, said: ' Burglary is a shocking invasion of privacy. While a burglar may not attack anybody, many are prepared to do so if detected. 'Police have recorded rising numbers of burglaries in the latest figures. The recommendation that burglars should not be jailed sends completely the wrong message.' The guidance from the Sentencing Advisory Panel, which is headed by academic lawyer Professor Andrew Ashworth QC, appears the first challenge from within the judicial establishment to the tougher approach introduced by Lord Judge. Since becoming leader of the judiciary in England and Wales in 2008, he has reversed the liberalising moves of his predecessors by ordering longer sentences for armed criminals and murderers.