Ipswich man locked up for string of break-ins

Connor Roche

Connor Roche has been locked up for almost four years - Credit: Suffolk Constabulary

A 20-year-old man with a fascination with cars, who committed 20 burglaries and attempted burglaries in the Ipswich area, has been locked up for almost four years.

Connor Roche committed the offences with the aim of stealing keys to cars, which he would then drive around before abandoning them, Ipswich Crown Court heard.

Connor Roche

Connor Roche caught on doorbell camera - Credit: Ring/Suffolk Constabulary

On one night in September this year, Roche tried to break into five houses in Sproughton Road, Ipswich, just three weeks after being released from a period of 28 months' detention for burglary, said Claire Matthews, prosecuting.

The following night, he broke into a house in Shrubland Avenue, Ipswich, between 3am and 6.45am, and stole car keys, a handbag and an Audi A1.

On that occasion, the owner of the house woke up to find a series of notifications on his doorbell camera, and discovered his wife's handbag and car keys were missing. 

After seeing his Audi A1 being driven away from the driveway, he went out looking for the vehicle and found it abandoned.

In an impact statement, the victim, who lives with his wife and two children, described his family as being “spooked” by the burglary and said that, following the break-in, his children felt unsafe and slept with his wife while he slept downstairs.

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Roche, of Spinner Close, Ipswich, admitted burglary, taking an Audi A1 without consent and five offences of attempted burglary.

He also asked for 19 other offences to be taken into consideration, including seven burglaries, seven attempted burglaries, four thefts of cars and one offence of criminal damage.

The court heard the burglaries and attempted burglaries took place at properties in St Peter’s Close, Claydon; Hillside Cottage, Claydon; Turner Road, Stowmarket; Thornhill Road, Barham, and in Chesterfield Drive, Carlisle Close, Mitford Close, Fircroft Road, Digby Road and Bennett Road, Ipswich.

In addition to being sentenced to 45 months' detention in a young offender institution, Roche was banned from driving for 34-and-a-half months.

The court heard that the total amount of property stolen by Roche was worth £12,363 – of which, £11,120 had been recovered – while the cost of damage was £1,000.

Richard Kelly, for Roche, said his client had committed the burglaries and attempted burglaries with the aim of stealing keys from houses to enable him to take cars, which he subsequently abandoned.

He said Roche committed the offences when he was feeling low and had been drinking, and had entered properties through insecure doors and windows without using any tools.

“He committed the offences for nothing more than to drive a car for a relatively short period before abandoning it,” said Mr Kelly.

Duncan Etchells, from Suffolk Constabulary's Operation Converter unit, which encouraged Roche to admit his crimes and wipe the slate clean, said: “Following excellent work by Ipswich CID and, in particular, Detective Constable Jack Briggs, in securing the initial charges and remand, the door was then opened to us to visit Roche in prison and put all the other offences to him.

“Despite a trail of house burglaries, and the consequential upset and trauma for the victims, Roche didn’t benefit financially from any of these crimes.

"The loss to the victims is not just monetary, it’s more the loss of a feeling of being secure in one’s own home, especially at night time.

"I can only hope that this young man will now reflect on the massive impact his offending has had on all of his victims.

"To him, it may be just a thrill-seeking night, but to the many victims and other people affected, it can carry long term confidence issues. To this end, we on Operation Converter will always strive to put prolific offenders such as Roche behind bars for as long as possible. In the long term, I’m hopeful he’ll use the time in prison to carry on the empathy he now shows to his victims with the restorative justice initiatives we can signpost him to.”