A DIGGER driver accused of acting as a lookout during a burglary at a house was found guilty and sentenced to 29 months in custody yesterday.

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Julian Ellis, 47, of Ascot Drive, Ipswich, who has over 200 previous offences, was arrested on August 8 in Salisbury Road, Ipswich, with Paul Ely, who was carrying a bag containing jewellery stolen from a house in the road, Ipswich Crown Court heard.

The court was told that Ely, 46, of Vernon Street, Ipswich, had since admitted burglary at a house in Salisbury Road but Ellis, 47, of Ascot Drive, Ipswich, had pleaded not guilty.

Marcus Crosskell, prosecuting, alleged that on August 8 Ely and Ellis were seen by police officers knocking at doors of houses or going into the gardens of properties in Foxhall Road, Kemball Street and Pearce Road.

An officer had then seen Ellis looking up and down Salisbury Road while Ely was out of sight.

Mr Crosskell alleged that prior to the burglary at the house in Salisbury Road Ellis and Ely had been walking round Ipswich “casing the joint” at other properties.

Ellis told the court that he had an interest in buying cars and on August 8 he and Ely had called at a number of houses to enquire about vehicles for sale.

He denied acting as lookout while Ely burgled the house in Salisbury Road and said he hadn’t known what was going on or asked Ely what was in the bag he was carrying.

Judge John Devaux said: “[Mr Ellis] played a subsidiary role in trying to find an appropriate property and eventually homed in on one.

“I don’t think the fact you stayed outside on this occasion should be taken into account. You set out to burgle and you did burgle.

“The 20 months sentence is aggravated by the very long record that you have. You have well over 200 offences and several of those are burglaries.

“It is further aggravated [because] only two days previously you had been sentenced for three cases.”

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