Eight in court over thefts

Details of a burglary and theft spree targeting homes and businesses across East Anglia have emerged in court.

IPSWICH: Details of a burglary and theft spree targeting homes and businesses across East Anglia have emerged in court.

Ipswich Crown Court heard that eight Ipswich men were responsible for more than 170 offences involving stealing valuable items from homes, cars and businesses worth a total of �335,000.

They targeted dozens of homes in towns and villages spanning three counties from as far a field as Ipswich, Melton and Sudbury in Suffolk to Clacton and Frinton in Essex and Dickleburgh and Shelfanger in south Norfolk.

The men, all from Ipswich, consisted of Paul Stevenson, 23, from Wellington Street, Ipswich, Daniel Pugh, 18, from Spring Road, Tom Nicholls, 18, from Bull Road, Daniel Fiddes, 18, from Star Lane, Paul Watchman, 24, of no fixed abode, Tyren Brooks, 19, from Elliot Street, Timay Denton, 21, from Jovian Way and Lance Dickens, from Shakespeare Road.

Not all the men were involved in all the offences.

They would target houses at night-time, often while the occupants were inside sleeping. On numerous occasions they would enter the homes, take the car keys and steal the vehicle outside or the contents from inside it.

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As well as targeting homes, they also stole from businesses.

Videos were later recovered from Stevenson's mobile phone showing some of the men boasting about their exploits while driving one of the stolen vehicles.

They also stole wedding rings for an forthcoming marriage from a house in Copdock, near Ipswich.

The men all pleaded guilty to offences related to the burglaries and thefts earlier this year.

The court heard that for count one, there were more than 120 separate offences committed with goods to the value of �210,000 taken between July 2007 and May 2008.

Prosecutor Gregory Perrins told the court that Stevenson, Fiddes and Pugh were the most prolific while Watchman and Nicholls played a subordinate role.

More than 50 offences were committed for count two which took place in January this year with items in excess of �125,000 taken.

The men were due to be sentenced at Ipswich Crown Court yesterdaybut due to a legal argument they will be sentenced at a later date.