REGARDING your article headed 'Terror of victims woken by house raider' (LET, August 27), which gave details of a man imprisoned for burglary. It is not so much the act of burglary itself which gives me cause to write -- sadly, such cases are rife in today's society -- rather I wish to comment on the appalling excuse given by the defence solicitor in the case.

I appreciate that defence counsels have a duty to perform on behalf of their clients and they do the best they can in difficult circumstances, but to say "apart from a Burnley FC mug, no items of sentimental value were taken from the property" is simply nonsensical.

Why should it be considered somehow less of a crime to take something not of sentimental value than to steal something that is? Both are equally reprehensible.

And besides, how would a burglar know if any item that he stole was of such value to its owner or not? What is of sentimental value to one person may not be to another.

Indeed, the Burnley FC mug is a case in point. For whatever reason, it was deemed to be sentimental value to that particular unfortunate householder, but in most houses such an item would be considered easily replaceable and of no significant standing.

And even if a burglar somehow knew that an item was of sentimental value, it would surely not deter him from stealing it, for people who break into other people's houses bent on theft care not a jot for sentimentality.

I have grown used to reading defence lines such as "My client had just split up from his girlfriend" and "The crime was a cry for help to get away from his drugs problem," but the "no items of sentimental value were taken" defence beggars belief and must have singularly unimpressed the judge.

Name and address received