Mandatory burglary sentences will not start until year 2000

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The Independent Online
The most serious repeat burglars will not start serving mandatory, three-year minimum sentences for a third offence until the end of 2000 at the earliest.

The Home Secretary was challenged last night by Jack Straw, Labour's spokesman on home affairs, to confirm research carried out by the Commons library, which says that in some cases hardcore burglars might not receive their "third strike" punishment until November 2003.

Writing to Mr Howard on the eve of today's Commons debate on sentencing policy, Mr Straw said the White Paper stated that the proposals could be implemented in October 1999.

But the Commons library said the first possible date would be December 2000, for people who had received two non-custodial sentences in a magistrates' court, through to November 2003 for burglars who had received two custodial sentences in a crown court.