The court heard of offences committed across an area as far north as Bedford and as far south as Southampton in January and February last year including; Havant in Hampshire where a wallet, keys and car were taken, London Colney in Hertfordshire where car keys and a car were taken and Northwood in London where Jewellery was taken.
Six males were sentenced at Kingston Crown Court to a total of 14 years in connection with the string of over 40 burglaries.
One of the defendants, Peter Stewart, was hiding in the shower of an old lady’s house in Staines when he was arrested. The elderly female victim woke up when one of the suspects was in her bedroom; fortunately an observant neighbour had noticed three men getting into the house and had called 999. Stewart was found by officers in the shower. The other two suspects had run off.
A Vauxhall Astra parked outside the house was found to contain property and jewellery from several burglaries that had happened in the preceding four days. The car had been stolen from a house in Southampton.
DC Janine Horn from Ealing borough said: "This group has shown no regard for the law or their victims, particularly picking on the old and vulnerable that they seem to have regarded as easy pickings. This has been an investigation complicated by the number of incidents and geographical spread of the crimes. By working with Hertfordshire Constabulary and Surrey Police, together, we have ensured the best possible evidence has been put before the courts. The movement of vehicles was tracked across the region even though number plates were changed around; witness accounts ensured we were able to prove the guilt of those involved."
"Tackling callous burglars who try to profit from the more vulnerable members in our communities has long been a priority in Hertfordshire," said Detective Sergeant Paul Hedges from Hertfordshire Constabulary. "The proactive operation we set up with our partners in neighbouring forces including the Met and ThamesValley aimed to deal with such offenders and the results from today’s sentencing demonstrates the real value in working together to bring them to justice."
DS Graham Wall of Surrey Police said: "This was an excellent example of neighbouring forces working together to share information about criminal activity and I hope this case serves as a deterrent to anyone who thinks they can get away with crime simply by travelling around to commit offences. Our Cross Border Investigation Team will continue to work closely with colleagues from other forces to ensure those who criminals who enter Surrey from elsewhere to offend are brought to justice."
21-year-old Michael Delaney, of Whitefield Way, Rickmansworth pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to burglary he was sentenced to two years ten months.
A 16-year-old boy [A] pleaded guilty to three counts of conspiracy to burglary he was sentenced to four years.
20-year-old Peter John Stewart, of Bishops Grove, Hampton, pleaded guilty of one count of conspiracy to burglary and one count of distraction burglary he was sentenced to four years
A 15-year-old boy [B] from Hayes was found guilty of one count of conspiracy to burglary he was sentenced to 18 month detention order.
19-year-old Patrick Cassidy, from Watling Street, Beds was found guilty of one count of conspiracy to burglary he was sentenced to two years.
A 17-year-old boy [C] from Romford was found guilty of one count of conspiracy to burglary he was sentenced to an 18 month community supervision order.
A 17-year-old boy [D] was found not guilty.