Five men who brought misery to Waveney are locked up

DETECTIVES this week hailed the custodial sentences given to five Lowestoft men as a major victory in the battle against burglary.

Nicholas Ibrahim, 19, Damien Wentworth, 19, Daniel Needham, 18, Christopher Hood, 20, and Andrew Jones, 26, will serve a combined sentence of more than nine-and-a-half years for a series of house burglaries committed over six months.

The five gang members were each sentenced at Ipswich Crown Court for their part in break-ins across Waveney between last October and April.

Ibrahim and Needham were given two-and-a-half-year custodial sentences for burglary, with Ibrahim being given a further six months for assault.

Wentworth was sentenced to 23 months in custody, Hood was jailed for 18 months and Jones for 14 months.

Suffolk police this week said the detaining of the gang served as a timely warning to other potential burglars that the net was closing in.

Det Insp Darrell Skuse, who has been heavily involved in the operation to combat burglaries in Waveney, said the case was one of a number in recent weeks that had seen peristent criminals being brought to justice.

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He said the detaining of the five 'is the successful conclusion to an operation which police ran in Lowestoft following a series of house burglaries from October last year'. The detective added: 'A number of prolific burglars have been jailed this year as a result of work carried out by officers. This has been a real team effort.'

During their burglary spree, the gang members became so confident that one even taunted the police with comments such as 'You can't catch us.'

But it was a break-in at Prospect Road, Lowestoft, on April 11 that gave detectives a breakthrough.

As the property had previously been targeted, the owner had installed CCTV. And footage from the cameras, combined with the prompt reactions of a neighbour who saw the burglars passing TV sets over a fence and alerted police, led to their capture.

'These offenders burgled with no thought for their victims, breaking in and stealing TVs, expensive property and items of sentimental value,' Det Insp Skuse said.

He added that police hoped the victims would be comforted by the news that they had been given custodial sentences.

Det Insp Jim Keeble, who oversaw the operation, said: 'This was a complex operation involving Suffolk Constabulary and other partner agencies where we deployed SmartWater [a coded liquid anti-crime system] in targeted areas throughout the town as well as many other tactics. As a result, the majority of Lowestoft now has property that can be easily identified.'

Police say more than 800 homes in the Lowestoft area have been protected by SmartWater since the scheme was introduced last December, and in that time only two of those houses have been burgled.

Det Insp Keeble added: 'We feel it has been a great success and this is unprecedented, as it is the first time a co-ordinated approach against this group of burglars has led to them being convicted. The offenders in this case targeted houses after dusk and in the early evenings, and, with the clocks soon to change, I urge householders to take note of anyone whom they do not normally see in their area and please don't be afraid to ring police using 999 if you see anything suspicious.'

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