Bedford men charged over burglary offences in new police crack down

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July was a bad month for burglars, as those behind a number of offences in Bedfordshire were put behind bars thanks to the police ‘Operation Fidelity’ initiative.

Detective Sergeant Tammy Scrivens, from the burglary cohort team which supports Operation Fidelity, said: “Last month’s long list of successes are the result of joined up working from the Operation Fidelity team, whose disruption of burglary nominals has consistently brought down burglary levels and has even helped raise the force to number one in the country for improvements in dealing with the crime.

“The message to burglars is clear – you are not welcome in Bedfordshire and we’ll do everything in our power to disrupt your activity and bring you to justice for your crimes.”

Peter Smith, 33, of Hitchin Road, Arlesey, will serve a total of four years behind bars for his part in offences across the county.

On July 5, Smith was sentenced to a total of two years after pleading guilty to handling stolen goods and attempted burglary, in relation to break-ins in Biggleswade and Wrestlingworth in December 2015 and January 2016.

Smith was linked to the Biggleswade offence after stolen items were located during a search warrant executed at his home address.

Officers were also able to link him to the Wrestlingworth break-in by locating his vehicle shortly after the offence was reported, having made off from the scene.

He was also re-sentenced to serve two years’ imprisonment, reduced after previously admitting five burglaries during a suspended sentence, as part of the Integrated Offender Management scheme. This results in a total of four years behind bars for Smith.

Frankie O’Leary, 18, of no fixed address, pleaded guilty to a number of distraction burglaries in Potton, Sandy and Biggleswade in May. O’Leary had also admitted a further offence in the London area.

During one of the offences in Potton on May 25, O’Leary carried out a distraction burglary against an elderly woman by claiming he was from a housing association. The vigilant victim asked to see an ID and refused to give O’Leary any money when he could not produce any, before calling her local housing association and the police.

O’Leary was arrested by officers who spotted his vehicle in the area before pursuing him on foot and investigators were then able to link him to four similar offences, each of which involved the targeting of an elderly victim.

At Luton Crown Court on July 26 O’Leary was sentenced to a total of three years behind bars for the offences, and the court also took into consideration three further offences he had admitted, which occurred in Sandy and Upper Caldecote also during May.

James Barlow, 49, of no fixed address, was sentenced to four years in prison for burglaries which took place in Bedford in the early morning of June 1.

In each case, the victims were at home and during two of the offences Barlow was confronted by terrified homeowners.

The burglaries all occurred within a window of just one hour and 20 minutes. Barlow was linked to the crimes by an officer who matched him to the descriptions provided by the victims as well as CCTV.

On Friday July 29, the courts passed down sentences of six and a half years and 20 months respectively for two further burglars.

Michael Templeton, 28, of Gadsby Street, Bedford and William Hanna, 30, also of Bedford were jailed for their part in a series of residential and commercial burglaries that took place between April 10 and 12 this year.

Hanna was also sentenced for driving offences during the same period and was penalised for committing crimes while on licence.