A BURGLAR and a motorist caught breaking a driving ban have escaped punishment because police took too long to put them before the courts.

Taylor Jonathan Sterling-Sharp, then a serving soldier, admitted in January he had broken into another soldier’s quarters in Imphal Barracks and that he had a stolen passport. Sunny Panchi admitted in February he had driven while disqualified, York Magistrates Court heard. Neither was charged.

It wasn’t until June that both men appeared in court in separate cases, having been summonsed.

District judge Adrian Lower said normally he would jail anyone caught driving whilst disqualified because they were breaking a court order. But the men had had to wait so long for justice the only sentence he could pass in each case was an absolute discharge. “The police have tied my hands,” he said.

Asked about the delay, the CPS representative in court, Kathryn Reeves, said she had no instructions about it.

Sterling-Sharp, 20, now of Bransdale Close, Stockton-on-Tees, pleaded guilty to burglary at Imphal Barracks and handling stolen goods at Gladstone Street, Acomb. Panchi, 29, of Gipton Approach, Leeds, pleaded guilty to taking a vehicle without consent, driving while disqualified and driving without insurance.

A North Yorkshire Police spokesman said: “We are very concerned about the outcomes of these cases and will be working with the CPS to review the police and CPS procedures which led to these results. The judiciary and public can be assured that the lessons learnt from this review will be acted on.”

Summonses can be issued by police without involving the CPS. The CPS is consulted before someone is charged with an offence. Normally, people who commit burglaries or driving while disqualified are charged.