An ex-soldier who tried to sell a stolen chainsaw four months after he had been given a suspended sentence for burglary is behind bars.
Richard Ballard, 31, who left the army seven years ago, told Judge David Goodin at Ipswich Crown Court last Friday: “Leaving the army was the biggest mistake of my life.”
Ballard, of Upthorpe Road, Stanton, was sentenced by magistrates in August to a year in prison suspended for two years after admitting three burglary offences at the isolated Stanton Manor.
On Friday Ballard pleaded guilty to an offence of handling stolen goods and the full suspended sentence was activated by Judge Goodin.
Prosecuting, Michael Crimp said Ballard was arrested in December after attempting to sell the chainsaw, which had been stolen by an unknown person, in a burglary at Stanton Manor a month earlier.
Ballard told police the chainsaw had been found by a friend under a hedge but he later admitted he had known it was stolen.
Mr Crimp said Stanton Manor had been unoccupied at the time of all the offences following the death of the owner.
Representing Ballard, Joanne Eley told the court: “He appears to have a slightly tenuous grip on reality.”
Ballard had served in the Royal Artillery in Germany until 2008 when, feeling homesick, he had decided to leave the army, said Miss Eley.
The court heard that following the end of his military career, Ballard had come into conflict with the law for public order offences and burglaries.
Miss Eley said Ballard had the potential for a useful life and had taken part in training courses while on remand in prison awaiting sentencing.
Sentencing him, Judge Goodin told Ballard: “You have plainly gone off the rails since leaving the army.”