She said: “I wrote a list of all the things that he had taken from us and when it was my turn to have my say, I just read through the list.

“I did not dare stop and then when I looked up at him I could see he was shaken by it.

“Once he had been able to say ‘sorry’ I think it was a weight lifted off his mind. He needed to say it.”

Mrs Clift understands she was the only one of his burglary victims to accept his request to meet under the restorative justice programme, which gives victims and offenders opportunities to communicate.

She said she was glad of the chance, adding: “If he really did want to say sorry then I wanted him to know what he had taken and really to understand what he had done to us.

“It gave me that chance to have a voice. I could go and look him in the eye and say: ‘You took all this from me and you did not care at the time,’ and for him to say sorry. That was good.”

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