A BURGLAR who was kidnapped and beaten up by vigilantes after a break-in has been handed a suspended jail term.

Michael Price-Rutherford, 22, was on bail for another burglary when was ‘look out’ for Timothy Hartley, 29, while he climbed into a house in Sherwood Road, Blackburn.

A court heard how resident Kelly Hilton’s neighbour told her she had taken photos of the men on her phone.

Miss Hilton recognised one as Price-Rutherford, of Railway Street, Nelson. He was later forced into a van by Daniel Howarth and Daniel Finn and driven around for five hours to Bolton.

His ordeal ended when he was made to take off his jacket, T-shirt, socks and shoes and left crying in a street.

Howarth, of Burnley Road, Blackburn, and Finn, from Blackpool, were both jailed after admitting to kidnap.

Price-Rutherford had been on bail for a burglary at Tarbert Crescent, in which copper piping was stolen, when he was arrested for the Sherwood Road raid. He admitted two counts of burglary and breaching curfew.

He was sentenced to 12 months imprisonment suspended for 18 months and an 18-month supervision order at Preston Crown Court.

David Farley, for Price-Rutherford, said the defendant’s father had recently been diagnosed with cancer.

He said: “He takes full responsibility for what he did. The truth is he was with people who he simply did not have the strength to stand up to or walk away from.

“Now is a good time to offer him a suspended sentence.”

Hartley, of Monmouth Road, Blackburn, also escaped an immediate custodial sent despite being a ‘three-strike burglar’, which would normally mean he would get a minimum of three years in prison.

Recorder Michael Blakey accepted Joe Boyd’s mitigation that his client had a job lined up, had gone through a long period of not offending and had waited months to be sentenced, meaning it would be unfair to send him straight to jail.

Hartley was given 18 months imprisonment suspended for two years. Both defendants have to pay a £100 surcharge.