A LAW student who was involved in a Boxing Day house burglary has been given a suspended sentence after a judge was told his potential legal career had been "decimated".

Judge Penelope Belcher heard that Usmaan Rashid, 20, was studying law at Bradford University and barrister Christopher Dunn described his client's involvement with others in the burglary as "20 minutes of sheer lunacy".

Rashid, of Penfield Grove, Clayton, Bradford, had no previous convictions, but at the time of the break-in last December he was on bail in relation allegations of handling stolen goods which were dropped.

Prosecutor Ashleigh Metcalfe told Bradford Crown Court yesterday that the family home in Leaventhorpe Avenue was burgled during the afternoon while the householder was out.

When she returned to the property the intruders had stolen electronic devices and jewellery of sentimental value belonging to her late mother.

Miss Metcalfe referred the judge to photographs which showed "ransacking" of the upstairs including a bureau which had not been touched since the death of the complainant's mother.

In total property valued at about £1,600 was stolen during the burglary and Miss Metcalfe confirmed that none of it had been recovered.

Rashid was arrested over the burglary in January after a DNA test linked him to a blood stain found on an upturned mattress in the house.

Last month he pleaded guilty to the burglary charge on the basis that others were involved and he played a "subordinated role".

Mr Dunn said Rashid's legal career was now decimated by his conviction and he was deeply ashamed about it.

"He's struggling to come to terms with what he's done," said Mr Dunn.

The court heard that Rashid also worked part-time as a support worker, but he had not yet told the university or his employer about his burglary conviction.

Judge Belcher said the photographs showed there had been a nasty and untidy search of the house and Rashid would now have a serious offence on his record for the rest of his life.

She said people were entitled to leave their homes and not come back to find their house ransacked and their belongings gone through.

The judge said the complainant had lost jewellery which had huge sentimental value.

"She hasn't got it back and she will never get it back," she added.

Judge Belcher added that Rashid and others had severed the complainant's link to her late mother.

"You are not stupid. It was up to you to walk away from this group. You didn't have to join in," she told Rashid.

Rashid would have faced being locked up for three years following a trial, but the judge said his early guilty plea meant the sentence could be reduced to two years which was a term that could be suspended.

She said she was prepared to suspend the two-year custodial sentence for two years, but Rashid would have to do 150 hours unpaid work for the community and comply with a three-month electronically-monitored home curfew between 7pm and 7am.

Rashid must also comply with a 15-day rehabilitation activity requirement.

Judge Belcher warned Rashid that if he did not show some maturity towards the requirements of the sentence he would find himself going into custody.