Petworth burglary: Three jailed for string of burglaries across south coast

Police
Police

Three men have been jailed for nearly 12 years for their part on a string of burglaries across the south coast, including one in Petworth.

Lewis Kelleher, 30, of Byerley Road, Portsmouth, Sami Hussain, 25, of Edith Road in Hammersmith, and Richard Ashley Hart, 34, of Conigham Road, Hammersmith, were found guilty of 27 counts of burglaries at Guildford Crown Court on Friday (January 11).

Between November 2017 and July 2018, a number of properties in Surrey, Hampshire, Sussex and Hertfordshire were targeted, where jewellery and other items were stolen. In July, a series of search warrants were executed in Portsmouth, Fulham and Hammersmith by officers from Surrey Police and Hampshire Constabulary.

One of the burglaries took place in Graffham, Petworth on July 10 last year.

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Investigating officer, detective constable Arun Sharma of Surrey Police said: “Unfortunately these men caused grief to many victims across the south of England. This was a complex investigation covering multiple police forces and counties. Successful partnerships between several forces were key to bringing these offenders to justice.

“I hope the sentences given to Kelleher, Hart and Hussain give some reassurance to those burgled by them, and that their sentences act as a deterrent to others.”

The men were arrested following a series of burglaries across the south of England which resulted in a total of £60,000 worth of jewellery and other items being stolen, and caused damage amounting to over a total of £28,000 worth of damage.

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Between November 2017 and July 2018, a number of properties in Surrey, Hampshire, Sussex and Hertfordshire were targeted, where jewellery and other items were stolen. In July, a series of search warrants were executed in Portsmouth, Fulham and Hammersmith by officers from Surrey Police and Hampshire Constabulary.

Kelleher was not found at his Portsmouth property, however items of clothing matching those worn by one of the offenders seen on CCTV were discovered, along with a large amount of costume jewellery which was believed to have been stolen.

Kelleher was later found at an address in Fulham and was arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to burgle. His mobile phone was seized, as were his trainers which matched those worn at one of the offences.

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Further warrants resulted in the arrests of Hussain and Hart. While searching Hart’s home, police seized a number of exhibits, including two iPhones, a pair of sand-coloured boots which matched those worn in the CCTV during two motorbike thefts and a camouflage jacket and trousers identical to those worn by the offender at the offence in Farther Common Lane, Hampshire on 19 April 2018. Officers also recovered a black crash helmet matching that which was seen on CCTV during a burglary in Haslemere.

Kelleher pleaded guilty 21 offences, was sentenced to 5 years and 7 months, Richard Hart pleaded guilty to 3 offences and was sentenced to 2 years, Sami Hussain pleaded guilty to 11 counts of the 21 burglaries and was sentenced to 4 years and 3 months.

Surrey Police offered a list to help people protect their homes and and belongings from burglars:

• Lock all doors and windows every time you leave the house, even when you're just out in the garden, remembering to double-lock UPVC doors

• Hide all keys, including car keys, out of sight and away from the letterbox (remember a device could be used to hook and remove keys through the letterbox) if possible keep them in a metal container

• Remove valuables from view of ground floor windows

• Store any high value items (i.e. jewellery, passports) in a correctly installed safe

• Install an intruder alarm - If it is to be monitored, ensure it is NSI or SIA registered

• Install dusk to dawn outside lighting around your property

• Get a trusted neighbour to keep an eye on your property if you are out for long periods or away on holiday

• Leave lights and a radio/TV on in your house or on a timer to make the property appear occupied

• Make sure the fences around your garden are in good condition and ensure side gates are locked to prevent access to the rear of the property

• Secure bikes at home by locking them to an immoveable object inside a locked shed or garage

• Keep ladders and tools stored away; don't leave them outside where they could be used to break into your home

• Make it hard for thieves to hide by keeping foliage and bushes trimmed and neat around the edges of your property

• Mark your property with a forensic marking product such as SelectaDNA and register your property with Immobilise

• Consider joining or forming a Neighbourhood Watch scheme