'About as low as you can get' – burglar raided Ipswich home as victims slept

Marcus McKenzie Carlyle Close, Ipswich

Marcus McKenzie burgled an address in Carlyle Close, Ipswich - Credit: Google/Suffolk Constabulary

A burglar has been jailed for invading an Ipswich property and stealing a car from the driveway, during lockdown, while a mother and son were asleep upstairs.

Marcus McKenzie entered an address in Carlyle Close through an unlocked door on April 17 last year and stole valuables including a 50-inch television and the keys to a Ford Focus, which he stole from the driveway and was later recovered in an undriveable condition.

The 30-year-old eventually confessed to the burglary, as well as a string of other offences, including the theft of a British Legion Poppy Appeal charity box three weeks before Remembrance Day the previous year.

Ipswich burglar Marcus McKenzie

Ipswich burglar Marcus McKenzie has been jailed for 42 months - Credit: Suffolk Constabulary

Meanwhile, McKenzie's brother, Dolian, avoided going straight to jail for a number of offences, including using stolen cards from the burglary to buy £316.14 of items with his younger sibling.

On Tuesday, Marcus McKenzie, of no fixed address, appeared at Ipswich Crown Court via video link from Peterborough prison for sentencing, while his 37-year-old brother, of Shakespeare Road, Ipswich, appeared in person.

While on remand, Marcus McKenzie confessed to three counts of theft between August and October 2019, including bottles of spirits from Tesco in August and the Poppy Appeal box from a shop counter on October 16.

He had already admitted the Carlyle Close burglary, stealing the Ford Focus from the drive and fraudulently using stolen bank cards to buy tobacco, scratch cards and food in the three hours before police arrested both brothers near the abandoned car in St Helen's Street.

Carlyle Close in Ipswich

The burglary happened in Carlyle Close, Ipswich - Credit: Google

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Prosecutor Benedict Peers said the victim of the burglary said had been left greatly disheartened, apprehensive, and unable to feel at ease.

At the time, Marcus McKenzie was on licenced release from a 42-month prison sentence imposed in 2017 for another burglary – one of 15 in a list of 54 offences on his criminal record.

Dolian McKenzie admitted fraudulently using the cards, as well as the theft of a mobile phone, left at the till by a Tesco customer, in October 2019, and stealing £574 of power tools and alcohol after breaking into a garage in Copdock at the end of May last year.

William Carter, for Marcus McKenzie, said there was little to suggest the burglary had taken any great planning or organisation.

He said McKenzie's previous offences had been largely carried out to fund a long-term addiction to heroin and crack cocaine.

Adam Norris, for Dolian McKenzie, said the older of the brothers' record of 63 offences ceased when he settled down in 2016, but that his mind may have been affected alcohol problems following a significant brain injury.

Judge Rupert Overbury handed him 13 months' custody, suspended for two years, with 200 hours' unpaid work and 45 days of rehabilitation activity requirement.

Judge Overbury said he acknowledged Marcus McKenzie's circumstances in jail had been exacerbated by Covid-19 restrictions, but added: "Well, so was this burglary. 

"Burgling someone in the middle of a pandemic is about as low as you can get."

He jailed Marcus McKenzie for 42 months and banned him from driving for 22 months for refusing to provide a blood sample for analysis upon his arrest.

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