Man who slept in three empty homes convicted of breaking windows
A Ipswich man has been convicted of smashing the windows of three unoccupied properties after being found asleep in a vacant council house.
Bradley Hall had denied criminal damage to properties in Ipswich and Felixstowe between March and September last year.
But the 32-year-old, of no fixed abode, was found guilty of all three offences following a trial at Suffolk Magistrates' Court.
Hall ran from an address in Wicklow Road after being woken from sleeping in a cupboard by an Ipswich Borough Council officer investigating two broken windows and a damaged door on March 16.
He left behind a Sainsbury's bag containing a latex glove, nasal spray and an empty bread bag, along with a lighter found with his fingerprint downstairs.
At some point between August 31 and September 2, Hall broke two kitchen windows to enter another property, left empty for renovation to flood damage, in Undercliff Road West, Felixstowe.
Prosecutor Josef Rybacki said the owner reported finding a rock underneath the smashed windows, and a takeaway drink cup in an upstairs bedroom, which appeared slept in.
He said Hall had also damaged a window at a property belonging to a relative's neighbour in Alan Road, Ipswich, in July.
A blood sample and fingerprints were lifted from broken glass and traced to Hall, who had been spotted leaving and confronted by the homeowner, but made off before the arrival of police.
Hall, who admitted being inside all three properties but denied causing the damage, was caught up with by a British Transport Police officer, who saw him acting suspiciously at a ticket machine in Ipswich railway station.
He told magistrates the damage had already been done to the Wicklow Road property when he was looking for a place to sleep.
He said the same of the property in Alan Road, which he claimed to have been checking for intruders, but then fell asleep.
In Felixstowe, he claimed to entered through a broken window with three other people.
“It looked like a building site,” he told Mr Rybacki.
“I just went there to sleep. The window was already broken. It could have been a flying bird; it could have been anything.
“I accept it's a coincidence. I won't be going into vacant properties any more.”
Magistrates ordered him to pay £275 in fines and compensation.