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Ipswich burglar found with BMW keys given suspended jail term

PUBLISHED: 08:00 18 March 2017

Ipswich Crown Court. Picture: PHIL MORLEY

Ipswich Crown Court. Picture: PHIL MORLEY

Archant

A man has finally been sentenced for a two-year-old burglary after spending 575 days on an electronic tag while under a night-time curfew.

Thomas Bowers, of Damselfly Close, Ipswich, was sentenced at Ipswich Crown Court.

Prosecutor Lindsay Cox said there was a break-in at Retro and Automotive Ltd on the Nacton Road Industrial Estate in Ipswich in April 2015 by three people, including 27-year-old Bowers.

Entry was gained by smashing a hole in a re-enforced security window in a door. A locker was forced open and various keys were taken from it.

Mr Cox said Francis Gray, a co-defendant who was previously sentenced to 20 months’ imprisonment, had worked at the business for a short while. He was convicted of burglary, aggravated vehicle taking, drink driving and disqualified driving.

Although an attempt was made to interfere with the CCTV system it was not successful. Bowers was recognised by his clothing and his association with Gray.

The court heard Gray was arrested when found lying drunk in a field after one of the vehicles had crashed while being driven away. Police went to the area of Bowers’ home in the early hours after the burglary was committed.

One of the BMWs taken turned up near to Bowers’ address.

He was seen going into his home and arrested.

The keys to the BMW were found inside the property.

Bowers said he had been driven to the scene by Gray, but that was untrue as Gray had been arrested by then.

The court was told Bowers had spent 575 days on an electronic tag as a condition of bail.

He pleaded guilty to taking a vehicle without consent and burglary.

Lynne Shirley, mitigating, said her client had made changes since the offences and nearly 600 days on a 9pm to 7am curfew had been “the making of him”.

Judge Martyn Levett said it was an exceptionally lengthy time for someone to be on curfew.

The judge was impressed that Bowers had not re-offended during this time.

Bowers was sentenced to 20 months’ imprisonment, suspended for two years. He was also given a further six-month curfew from 9pm to 7am and disqualified him from driving for 12 months.

Bowers must also undertake a 35-day rehabilitation activity requirement.

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