Rushden burglar banned from every Wilko's in the country
He'll be double-tagged to help him stop offending
A man from Rushden caught red-handed by CCTV during an offending spree in his hometown has avoided a jail term after admitting his crimes.
Thomas Jones, 24, phoned police to hand himself in after seeing a media appeal featuring a picture of himself committing a shed burglary in Gravely Street, Rushden.
But before he could be arrested, he went and burgled a house in Hall Park Lane, visiting the home at least three times in one night, stealing a Macbook and an ipad.
Jones, of Newton Court, had no previous convictions when he started his month-long crime spree on March 14 this year.
Northampton Crown Court heard today (Friday, May 21) that he was caught on camera after he tried a locked door in Gravely Street and then went next door, broke into a shed and stole an £8 bottle of wine. He was caught by the householder but jumped over a fence and ran away.
Then on March 25, the court was told that former warehouse worker Jones stole two vacuum cleaners valued at £50 from Rushden's Wilko store. Two days later he again tried to steal two vacuum cleaners but escaped empty-handed. He then returned to Wilko and stole more items including shampoo and men's grooming products on April 2, 6, 7, 8 and 13.
Two days later, after phoning police to tell them who he was but before he could be arrested, he went on to burgle a home office and then a house in Hall Park Lane, taking electrical items and keys worth £5,000 and depositing them along the way to his own home, just 0.2 miles away.
Prosecuting barrister, Jonathan Eley said: "Police attended with dogs and managed to track him all the way to his residence. Police were going there anyway to arrest Mr Jones for his admissions that he'd made on the telephone for his previous crimes.
"When they arrived there they found Mr Jones in drink and trying to conceal a pink ipad. They also found keys from the property and items which had been put on the route from the burgled house to Mr Jones's premises."
His Honour Judge Rupert Mayo was told that Jones had spent five weeks on remand in HMP Peterborough, had had time to meet with Alcoholics Anonymous and had reconciled with his estranged parents.
Mitigating, Will Heyward, said: "He lost his job in October last year which made him turn to alcohol."
He said Jones, who cried and prayed during the hearing, had written to his victims to express his remorse.
"He knows that doesn't go a long way," said Mr Heyward, "but for him it's a big step."
He had also offered to use his £400 in savings to compensate his victims.
Jones was given an 11 month jail term, suspended for 18 months, and ordered to pay £300 in compensation. He was also told he must abide by a 9pm to 7am curfew for one month, for which he must wear an electronic monitoring tag. He must also wear another alcohol abstinence monitoring tag for three months which will alert his probation officer if he drinks alcohol.
He will also have to complete up to 30 rehabilitation requirement days and will be subject to a restraining order that bans him from every Wilko's store in the country.
Judge Mayo said: "I was intending to give you an immediate sentence of imprisonment because of the spree of offences that you committed in your hometown in March and April.
"Mr Heyward has put a lot of what you did into context and you've been greatly helped by the pre-sentence report from probation.
"What I want you to do is to enable you to be rehabilitated, in young man's terms, putting you back together again.
"If you fail you'll come back here, you'll be sentenced and sent back to Peterborough to sit in a cell.
"If you steal so much as a toothbrush, that will be enough to trigger off your sentence."
After he was sentenced, Jones told Judge Mayo: "I promise I wont let you down."
In April, Jones pleaded guilty to all of the offences and PC Kieran Fowler from Northamptonshire Police’s Burglary Team North, said: “Thomas Jones is a prolific shoplifter and burglar so I am pleased that the evidence we presented gave him no other choice but to plead guilty at court.
“We are determined to continue working hard to take people like Jones off the streets of Northamptonshire as they just cause misery to the majority of our residents here.”