Church robber is jailed

A BURGLAR is behind bars today after again breaking into an Ipswich church where he could have got what he wanted if only he'd asked.Justin Brame was caught red-handed by police and a church key holder after he had smashed a window and attempted to steal from Elim Pentecostal Church.

By Matt Eley

A BURGLAR is behind bars today after again breaking into an Ipswich church where he could have got what he wanted if only he had asked.

Justin Brame was caught red-handed by police and a church key holder after he had smashed a window and attempted to steal from Elim Pentecostal Church.

It is believed Brame was attempting to steal food and money – but the church offers food and additional help at a drop-in centre four days a week.


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The 23-year-old was jailed by magistrates for three months.

Brame was sentenced to prison in 1999 for a string of burglaries – including another break-in at the Burlington Road church.

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After Brame, formerly of the Salvation Army Hostel, Fore Street, Ipswich, completed a previous sentence, Pastor Stephen Huntly and members of the church offered help in the form of food and clothes – but he turned his back on their aid.

Despite committing further crimes, Mr Huntly said the church would be there for Brame if he wanted help in the future.

He said: "The church will still be here for him as we are for everybody."

Mr Huntly, who has known Brame for about four years, said: "He was referred to us by the chaplain of Hollesley Bay when he came out and we tried to help him.

"Then he re-offended and went back to prison. After that we talked but he didn't come back to church again, I

suppose he didn't feel able to show his face after the

break-ins."

The drop-in centre service run by the church is visited by up to 50 people a day.

Mr Huntly added: "Nobody needs to break-in because we are here to offer help. The door is always open to people."

At South East Suffolk Magistrates' Court Gareth Davies, prosecuting, told the court that Brame was found inside the church by key

holder Laurence Englefield and the police on March 9.

He had gained access to the Grade II listed building by smashing a window valued at £200.

Police spotted the premises were insecure and contacted Mr Englefield. When they went inside they found Brame hiding behind a post.

He had not succeeded in stealing anything from the building.

At a hearing at South East Suffolk Magistrates' Court on March 13 Brame pleaded guilty to the charge of burglary with intent, he was sentenced to prison yesterday.

David Goodin, mitigating, said his client had

"an unenviable record of offences".

He added that Brame had been sentenced to custody for similar crimes in 1995 (two months) 1997 (18 months) 1999 (two years) and 2000

(18 months).

Patrick Oudkerk, chairman of the bench, said: "We have taken into account your guilty plea and reduced the sentence because of that. We have decided the offences are so serious that only custody can be justified."

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