Burglary turns into damp squib as Hitchin thief wearing stolen clothes gets two years in prison – after extra layers weigh him down during failed river escape leading to police capture

Liam Tristram was sentenced to two years in prison for burglarly.

Liam Tristram was sentenced to two years in prison for burglarly. - Credit: Archant

A Hitchin man has been jailed for two years for burglary – after the stolen clothes he wore taken from a house break-in weighed him down as he jumped into a river during a failed escape bid.

Liam Tristram, 27, of Nightingale Road entered a house in Garden Row in the town and fled the scene wearing clothes he stole, at around 8.45am on January 16 this year.

The victims, a husband and wife, discovered the break-in shortly afterwards, with a witness telling them he had seen a man leaving their property with a sports bag 15 minutes before they arrived back at their property around 9.30am.

The husband then contacted the police who launched a search of the area after Tristram made off with clothing, jewellery, cash, a laptop, a sports bag and rucksack from the property.

The husband then bravely got into his car and went looking for the culprit. While driving along Woolgrove Road he spotted a man fitting the thief’s description entering a newsagent. The man also noticed Tristram was wearing his clothes.


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He approached him in the shop, detained him and asked the manager to call the police – who arrived shortly after and arrested him on suspicion of burglary.

But, as he was being arrested, he slipped out of his handcuffs, ran from the scene and jumped into the nearby River Purwell in an attempt to escape.

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However the slow-witted clothes thief’s bid to escape turned into a damp squib as he was wearing a lot of the victim’s clothing – and didn’t get far as the extra layering became wet, slowing him down – and was quickly detained again.

Speaking after sentencing at Cambridge Crown Court, Det Con Dave Lawson from the North Herts Local Crime Unit said: “He stole a large amount of personal possessions from the couple and was very blatant in his actions.

“We appreciate what the home owner did as it enabled our officers to quickly get to the scene and arrest him.

“In the end, the fact he had decided to steal and wear so many of his victim’s clothes became his downfall – as soon as the clothes became wet, they weighed him down which helped us to quickly detain his again.

“We’re very pleased with the length of this sentencing – and feel it suitably reflects the severity of the crime committed.”

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