Burglar jailed for stealing £40k of equipment and handling iPads stolen from Northampton primary school

A former mechanic from Northampton who stole £40,000 worth of equipment from a company after he made an unauthorised copy of a director's key fob has been jailed.

Tuesday, 2nd August 2016, 6:00 am
Updated Thursday, 25th August 2016, 7:00 pm
Michael Allen has been jailed for four years after he was convicted of two burglary offences
Michael Allen has been jailed for four years after he was convicted of two burglary offences

Michael Allen, aged 37, appeared at Northampton Crown Court after he admitted carrying out a burglary at Serenco UK Ltd, based in Sywell, on the evening of December 16.

The court heard Allen was a former employee of Watchdogs Limited, a company that worked with Sereneco - a tools supplier with many clients in the town, including Parklands Primary School.

Priyi Bakshi, prosecuting, said Allen, of Axe Head Road, Briar Hill, Northampton, worked for Watchdogs Limited from June to October 2009 but then left to set up his own garage.

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Ms Bakshi said Allen took one of Serenco’s vehicles into his garage on December 2 and, while the car was with him, he made a copy of the fob and keys from the Serenco headquarters.

The court heard that 10 days later Allen, and another man, used the fob and keys to enter the Serenco building and steal £40,000 worth of equipment.

Ms Bakshi said the company estimated it also lost another £12,500 due to the disruption caused by the burglary.

Allen also admitted a charge of handling stolen goods after police raided his home on December 20 and found £2,500 worth of iPads and Dell notebooks that belonged to Serenco and had been stolen from Parklands Primary School four days earlier.

In his police interview, Allen admitted he had removed a glass panel from the reception desk at Serenco to make it look like a “proper burglary”.

Ms Bakshi said the delay in sentencing Allen was due to the fact he had pleaded not guilty to another burglary of a flat in Northampton.

However, last month Allen was found guilty of committing the burglary at an ex-girlfriend’s address.

The court heard Allen knew she was going to be out and had broken in on July 6, 2013, and stolen a laptop, camera, memory card and a tent.

Ms Bakshi said Allen’s fingerprints and DNA were found at the scene.

The Chronicle & Echo reported in October 2014 how Allen was fined £100 after he admitted driving a police car “film prop” fitted with flashing blue lights and a siren.

His Honour Judge Rupert Mayo said the burglary of his ex-girlfriend was a “particularly mean” offence as he knew she was going to be out.

Judge Mayo sentenced Allen to three years in jail for the burglary of the flat and one year, consecutively, for the commercial burglary. He was given a nine-month sentence for handling stolen goods, and six months for theft, to be served concurrently.

He is likely to serve two years in jail before being released on licence.