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Burglar stole kayak to row to a better life in France


A wanted burglar has been jailed after he admitted stealing a kayak and trying to paddle across one of the world’s busiest sea lanes to start a new life in France.

Paul Redford, 46, was on the run after committing thefts in Darlington and Blyth, Northumberland, dating back to 2011, when he had to be rescued a mile into the English Channel by the RNLI last month. Teesside Crown Court heard how Redford, a trialist for the English homeless football team, had broken into a holiday chalet in Camber, East Sussex, cooked food for himself and spent the night there.

Rachel Masters, prosecuting, said Redford spotted a kayak outside the holiday home the next morning and decided to head to France with only a child’s life jacket for safety. Police were called by a member of the public who was concerned that Redford might be about to kill himself when he was spotted paddling out to sea.

James Fenny, defending, said Redford had just left London, having kicked drugs and was cold, desperate and hungry when he broke into the chalet.

“He gets into the boat and rather foolishly he sets out to start anew,” Mr Fenny said.

Redford was jailed for two years and five months after admitting two counts of theft and one of burglary.