Polstead: Thieving gardener offered to house-sit at home he had raided

Ipswich Crown Court Ipswich Crown Court

Wednesday, June 18, 2014
10:21 AM

A gardener who carried out a £140,000 burglary at a Suffolk house where he had done some work showed “bare-faced cheek” by commiserating with the owners about the break-in and offering to house-sit until their return from a trip abroad, a court has heard.

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Jay Warren had been trusted with the code to security gates at the premises in Lindsey after doing odd jobs and gardening for the owners and would have known they were out of the country when he carried out the burglary in January, Ipswich Crown Court heard.

During the raid, a “vast” quantity of property worth £140,000 was stolen including jewellery, an Audi A8 and power tools, said Matthew Gowen, prosecuting.

Warren, 30, of no fixed address, admitted burglary at the property in Lindsey as well as another burglary at a secluded rural house in Church Road, Milden, in November last year.

He also admitted handling stolen goods from another burglary in Polstead in January.

Jailing him for 32 months, Judge David Goodin accused Warren of “cynically betraying” the trust of the owners of the house in Lindsey by breaking into their home when he knew they were on holiday and then acting with “astonishing bare-faced cheek” by commiserating with them and offering to house-sit until their return.

Also before the court was Gary Aris, 24, of Romford, who was jailed for two years after admitting burglary at a house Polstead in January and handling stolen goods.

Mr Gowen told the court the owner of the property in Milden had gone on holiday to America and had left a note and some money for the paper boy saying she was out of the country until January.

She subsequently heard that her car had been found burnt out after being stolen, and when she got back to the UK she discovered a window at the rear of her home had been forced and property, including her 18 carat gold wedding ring, had been stolen.

On January 8, a 77-year-old woman who lived alone in Polstead was in bed at 11pm when she heard noises downstairs and bravely went to investigate, said Mr Gowen.

She heard a vehicle leaving and discovered her back door had been forced open with a brick from her garden and a music studio adjoining the house had been ransacked and music equipment worth more than £6,000, belonging to her son, had been stolen.

Steven Dyble, for Warren, said his client had done some occasional garden clearance work at the property in Lindsey and it was a 
reasonable inference that he knew the owners were away when he committed the burglary.

Hugh Vass, for Aris, said his client had been a look out during the burglary in Polstead and hadn’t entered the premises.

He said that after Warren had burgled the house in Lindsey he had invited Aris to stay and at that stage Aris didn’t know what he had done. However he had subsequently found out about the burglary and had handled some of the stolen property.

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