THOSE of you who can recall a certain news item from ten days before Christmas must still be shaking your heads in disbelief at what happened to millionaire businessman Munir Hussain and his younger brother, Tokeer, in the aftermath of an incident at Munir’s home. He, his wife, teenage daughter and sons returned from their mosque during Ramadan to find their luxury property in High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, being burgled by three men.

The family were tied up and told by knife-wielding Waled Salem, a career criminal, to lie on the floor if they did not wish to be killed. One can only imagine the terror which must have gripped the Hussains, but one of the sons escaped and alerted Tokeer, who lived nearby. From then on, the situation changed in as dramatic a fashion as any Hollywood “revenge” movie could envisage.

Munir, who had also broken free, and Tokeer, chased the gang and brought down Salem in the front garden. They beat him as he lay on the ground, using a cricket bat, pole and hockey stick. Salem survived the attack but was unable to enter a plea when the case got to court as he suffered brain damage at the hands of the Hussains. He was given a non-custodial sentence.

However, Judge John Reddihough took a dim view of the action by the Hussain brothers, sentencing Munir to 30 months in jail and Tokeer 39, saying: “If persons were permitted to take the law into their own hands and inflict instant and violent punishment, rather than letting the criminal justice system takes its course, then the rule of law and criminal justice would collapse”.

As the judge is clearly one of the very few people in the UK still labouring under the misapprehension that the criminal justice system is working, and not angled in favour of law-breakers, perhaps we can expect the following guide lines on what to do should we come face to face with one or more burglars in our home: 1: Greet the intruders in a friendly manner, something along the lines of: “Hi. Can I/we help? Are you looking for anything in particular, or is this just a speculative raid?

2: Under no circumstances release the rottweiler/dobermann/alsatian/bull mastiff. Put it outdoors, instruct it to be quiet and make sure the intruders’ escape route is not threatened by a psychotic canine.

3: Offer food and drink, possibly a monster fry-up.

4: Assist with the search for cash and valuables which can be exchanged for heroin, crack cocaine, cannabis or any other drug which your new friends are desperate to procure.

5: If your property isn’t enough, venture next door and blag some of theirs, using the age-old but dependable line that you need money for a family member’s urgent private medical treatment. It never fails.

6: Do not register disapproval or contempt, as that could lead to legal action against you for defamation. Burglars, by nature, are sensitive folk.

7: Offer them the keys to your car, or a lift to the destination of their choice, if required.

Welcome to the nuthouse. But have a Happy New Year anyway.