TWO men have been convicted for burglary, one of them a "third striker" who is facing a longer prison sentence as a result.

Percy Hodgkins and Thomas Taylor both admitted burglary when they appeared before Recorder David Mason QC at Worcester Crown Court on Tuesday, November 12.

However, they will not be sentenced until the trial of a co-defendant concludes in March next year.

Taylor, aged 28, of Linden Avenue, Stourport pleaded guilty to a burglary at the flat above Oldfields of Ombersley on October 7 this year.

Percy Hodgkins, aged 27, of Teme Avenue, Kidderminster accepted that he was convicted of that offence at Kidderminster Magistrates Court on October 9.

Nicholas Berry, for Taylor, confirmed that his client’s conviction for burglary made him a ‘third striker’ which means he has committed three such offences, making him eligible for a minimum sentence.

The sentencing guidelines stipulate that when sentencing an offender for a qualifying third domestic burglary, the court must apply Section 111 of the Powers of the Criminal Courts (Sentencing) Act 2000 and impose a custodial term of at least three years, unless it is satisfied that there are particular circumstances which relate to any of the offences or to the offender which would make it unjust to do so.

Mr Berry accepted it was a category one case, the most serious within the sentencing guidelines for that offence.

Clifford Hodgkins, 37, of Victoria Place, Kidderminster denied the Ombersley burglary, saying he was not present.

Hodgkins and Taylor will be sentenced at the end of Clifford's trial which was placed in a warned list for March 23 next year. This means it could begin within three weeks after that date. The trial is expected to last two days.

This was after an application by Michael Aspinall, for Percy Hodgkins, and Mr Berry, for Taylor, to have their clients sentenced was refused by the judge.

Mr Aspinall said his client pleaded guilty over a month ago and if the sentence was adjourned he would have to wait "a considerable period of time to understand what sentence he was going to get".

“He should be entitled to learn his fate today,” said Mr Aspinall.

Mr Berry supported the application, saying of Taylor: “He’s very keen to learn his fate as soon as possible.”

All three defendants were remanded in custody until the next hearing.