Wednesday, 26 June 2019
Saturday, 28 May 2016

Anthony Watling gets 6 years jail
for robbing Britwell neighbours

Does expensive jail prevent re-offending ?

Photograph: Thames Valley Police. Report: Paul Janik

Anthony Watling was jailed for 6 years for robbing homes within a half-mile radius of his home in the Britwell suburb, north west of Slough.

At Reading Crown Court on 12 December 2015, Mr Watling, aged 39, pleaded guilty to three charges of robbery.

Today, the police announced that yesterday, 5 months after Mr Watling pleaded guilty, the same court sentenced him to jail:

  • 6 years for one robbery
  • 4 years for one attempted robbery
  • 6 months for breaking a previous court's Conditional Discharge Order

All the sentences will be served simultaneously, so the total jail time is 6 years.

The robberies occurred on Saturday morning, 17 October 2015, at homes in Woodford Way and Wentworth Avenue less than half-a-mile away from Mr Watling's Furzen Close home.

The investigating detective Simon Reed, based at Reading police station, said:

These offences have caused serious distress to the victims and their families.

"I would like to praise the victims for supporting the police investigation.

"I hope this sentence will act as a deterrent to any future offending."

The Slough Times wonders what motivated Mr Watling to rob homes so close to where he lived. An ordinary (but what is 'ordinary' ?) person would think committing crimes on one's own metaphorical doorstep is foolish.

Although the Slough Times knows nothing of Mr Watling, the Slough Times inevitably wonders:

  1. Whether Mr Watling's crimes were motivated by desperation ?
  2. Whether Mr Watling received all the necessary support to discourage him committing crimes ?
  3. Whether accommodating Mr Watling in one of the Queens's prisons is a good use of tax payers' money
  4. The government's 2014-2015 report shows the annual cost of locking-up people varies between £50,000 to £90,000 making Mr Watling's incarceration cost between £300,000 and £450,000.

    when it would be a lot cheaper to send Mr Watling on a package holiday trip lasting 6 years ?

  5. Whether putting Mr Watling in a Queen's jail where drugs, knifes, sharp objects, mobile phones and more are readily available is the best environment to identify Mr Watling's problems, solve them and reform him ?