Burglaries are a worrying notion for any homeowner, and the concept of a stranger entering your safe space is terrifying.
Although the likelihood of being confronted by a burglar in your own home is unlikely, there have been a number of incidents in Derbyshire that could make you shudder with fear.
In one high profile case an intruder died following a brawl with a home owner in 1996 in Ockbrook.
Nick Baungartner, aged 54, returned home after a shopping trip to turn on the lights and discover Robert Ingham running towards him, screaming.
Ingham had been raiding the home and a violent, 20-minute long fight began. Hungarian-born Mr Baungartner said the burglar came at him with a deadly force. The tussle ended with Ingham dead from an obstruction of his airways.
Following Ingham’s inquest, the jury came to a verdict of accidental death. The police and Crown Prosecution Service decided there was insufficient evidence to prosecute Mr Baungartner, who received a broken wrist and severe bruising.
In another Derbyshire case, 83-year-old Ted Newberry, from Ilkeston, was forced to pay more than £4,000 in damages after firing a 12-bore shotgun at a man who broke into his allotment in 1988.
The retired hospital porter was so fed up with vandals ruining his allotment, he decided to sleep there so he could catch the trespassers in the act.
Instead of discovering the culprits red-handed, Ted realised the noise he could hear outside was that of would-be burglars trying to break into his shed.
Fearing for his life, Mr Newberrytook up his shotgun to fire a “warning shot” through a hole in the shed door.
The shot hit one of the intruders, then 22, who was left with 50 gunshot wounds in his body.
A jury later cleared Mr Newberry of deliberately injuring anyone because he acted in self-defence. However, Mr Newberry was informed he had been negligent when he fired through the shed door and should have turned the light on or shouted instead.
Fortunately, cases like these are improbable. However, many of us have wondered how we would react in such situations, and whether any legal consequences would follow.
In South Derbyshire, the Crown Prosecution Service answer some frequently asked questions about where you would stand under the law when faced with an intruder.
A spokesperson for Derbyshire Constabulary said: "If an intruder is in your home, always ring 999.
"If you have been a victim of burglary and the offender is not present report it to police on 101."
Should you wait to be attacked?
No. If you are in your home and fear for the safety of yourself and others, the law does not require you to wait to be attacked before using methods of defence.
What is “reasonable force”?
The more extreme the circumstance, the more force you can lawfully use in self-defence.
Does the law protect you?
Anyone can use reasonable force to protect themselves or others, or carry out an arrest or prevent a crime.
How far does protection under law go?
If you do something that you believe is necessary, that is the best evidence of you acting lawfully and in self-defence – even if you use something to hand as a weapon.
What if the intruder dies?
The CPS says: “If you have acted in reasonable self-defence, as described above, and the intruder dies, you will still have acted lawfully.”
What if you chase them as they run off?
In this case, you are not acting in self-defence. The same force may not be reasonable but you can still use reasonable force to recover property and make a citizen’s arrest.
What is reasonable force if you are chasing them?
The CPS says consider you own safety and whether police have been called but a rugby tackle or single blow would probably be reasonable.
What is disproportionate or grossly disproportionate force?
The law offers the benefit of doubt if actions are disproportionate but made under extreme circumstance. This only applies in self-defence or protecting others.
What does that mean?
The law does not protect you if the action is over the top or calculated revenge, for example, if you knock an intruder unconscious then kick and punch them repeatedly.
Will police and CPS believe the intruder rather than you?
Police weigh all facts when investigating, including the fact the intruder caused the situation to arise. Police have a duty to investigate death or injury.
How would the police and CPS handle the investigation?
In short – swiftly and sympathetically. If the facts are clear, or where less serious injuries are involved, the investigation will be concluded quickly.
How quickly would an investigation be dealt with?
According to the CPS, cases are dealt with as swiftly and sympathetically as possible. Special measure like experienced investigators and senior lawyers are appointed.