Prolific burglar from Hitchin jailed after last chance

A PROLIFIC burglar who raided more than 165 homes and businesses, and stole from more than 200 cars, has been jailed after blowing an opportunity to prove he could change his dishonest ways. Colin Hemmings, 20, of Dacre Road, Hitchin admitted to 10 charge

A PROLIFIC burglar who raided more than 165 homes and businesses, and stole from more than 200 cars, has been jailed after blowing an opportunity to prove he could change his dishonest ways.

Colin Hemmings, 20, of Dacre Road, Hitchin admitted to 10 charges at St Albans Crown Court, including three of burglary and three of theft, and asked for a further 370 similar crimes to be taken into account.

Prosecutor David Chrimes told Judge Michael Baker QC that Hemmings had racked up his record in just under four years, between January 2005 and October 2008.

Mr Chrimes told the court that Hemmings had admitted stealing property including money, satellite navigation systems, stereos and cash from 204 cars in and around the Hitchin area during his shameless thieving spree.


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He also burgled 49 residential homes in his home town, as well as 116 non-dwelling buildings including local businesses and schools such as William Ransom primary school from which he stole a laptop.

The homes he broke into included a house in Hampden Road from which he took a laptop worth �1,900 after forcing entry through a conservatory. From another in West Hill belonging to a retired couple he took �860 worth of electrical items after forcing entry through the front door while they slept.

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In total, from all his raids on homes, businesses, schools and cars, Hemmings stole �103,000 worth of items.

At the start of the year, he was given a chance by Judge Baker to prove he was willing to put his offending behind him through undertaking a programme which involved sessions with the probation service and voluntary work.

On his return to court for sentencing on Friday, the court heard he had complied with the programme for two months but then failed to keep his appointments, broke his curfew and returned to his offending ways.

In March, he was caught stealing clothes from the shop Peacocks in Biggleswade where he was seen shamelessly stuffing a carrier bag with items before leaving without paying.

Adam Davis, defending, said Hemmings "wasn't mature enough to deal with the requirements of the programme".

He added: "His life has been a complete disaster, for himself personally, and for the people who have been his victims. But he does now want to put all his offending behind him which he why he admitted the additional 370 offences to police."

Judge Baker observed that an unusual aspect of Hemmings's thieving was that he had not been motivated by a drug or drink habit.

Sentencing him to a total of four years and two months in a young offenders' institute, he told him: "You have a significant record and it is clear that court intervention has not suppressed your offending.

"You have stolen property worth �103,000 from your numerous victims, and this does not take into account the anger and distress you also caused them.

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