Police to step up crackdown on Waveney burglars

Police county wide day of action targeting burglary. Detective inspector Darrell Skuse.

Police county wide day of action targeting burglary. Detective inspector Darrell Skuse. - Credit: Archant © 2013

DETECTIVES in Waveney vowed this week to step up the battle against burglars after two men were jailed for a year for their part in the 'cruel' break-in at the home of a woman in her 80s.

The pledge came as raids were carried out in Lowestoft on Tuesday as part of a countywide campaign which saw 13 people arrested in a crackdown on persistent offenders and those suspected of handling stolen goods.

Twenty-four premises across Suffolk were targeted as part of an ongoing campaign – Operation Drawbridge – as 11 teams of officers carried out warrants, seizing suspected stolen property and drugs.

Det Insp Darrell Skuse said Tuesday's operation, which saw properties searched in Lowestoft and east Suffolk, formed part of a coordinated effort by detectives, Safer Neighbourhood Teams and officers in the Territorial Support Team to target those linked to burglaries across Waveney.

He said the raids were the result of weeks of intelligence gathering, which secured the warrants – backed up with checks at local second-hand dealers and ongoing community work to identify offenders.

'In addition to the arrests made, the day was valuable for intelligence gathering too and over the next few weeks we will look to build on this to continue our efforts to catch burglars and put them before the courts,' Mr Skuse added.

In Lowestoft, a 19-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of burgling a home in Tudor Walk, Carlton Colville earlier this month. He has been bailed until March 13 pending further inquiries.

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A 38-year-old man from Mettingham, near Bungay, was arrested on suspicion of possessing of an offensive weapon after police searched a vehicle at Tonning Street in Lowestoft. He was later cautioned.

A 29-year-old Lowestoft man was reported for consideration for the offence of possession of a class B drug.

Supt Phil Aves, who leads the teams in Waveney and Suffolk Coastal, said burglary remained the 'number one priority' for 2013. After a 'dramatic reduction' in home break-ins last year, there had been a 'spike' recently.

'In recent weeks we have seen an increase in the number of home burglaries and officers have been carrying out uniformed and plain clothes patrols in a bid to catch offenders,' he said.

'Over the past week or so we have made a number of arrests in connection with offences and we are continuing investigations to gather sufficient evidence to be able to put those responsible before the courts.'

At Ipswich Crown Court last Thursday, Kevin Scupham, 48, a taxi driver, formerly of Spashett Road, Lowestoft, and Nicholas Corner, 30, unemployed and formerly of Southtown Road, Great Yarmouth, were each jailed for a year after a woman in her 80s was burgled in the Hollingsworth Road area of Lowestoft on November 10, 2011.

Scupham, who regularly helped the elderly victim with daily tasks as she was largely bed-bound, had a key to her home and this was used to get in while she was asleep between 11pm and 11.30pm, the court heard.

The woman woke up after hearing movement in her bedroom and found a man standing over her. He grabbed her handbag, containing a large amount of cash, and fled. But she pressed an emergency wristband and police were alerted. Officers stopped a vehicle containing two men a short time later and detained Scupham.

Corner – who initially claimed he had only got into the vehicle moments earlier – was arrested after he was searched and the handbag and contents were found hidden under his coat. Officers also found the key to the victim's property and a Halloween-type face mask which he later admitted wearing while inside the property.

A police spokesman said: 'Corner admitted his guilt in police interview and pleaded guilty straight away, while Scupham pleaded not guilty. He eventually pleaded guilty last week, and both were sentenced together.'

Speaking after the case, Det Insp Skuse said: 'This case was particularly cruel as the victim relied on Scupham for many every day tasks. He planned the burglary and, despite being found in the same vehicle as the stolen property, initially denied any knowledge of the offence, claiming it was all coincidence. Regardless of this both men were charged and we are pleased both have now been jailed.'

? Information concerning burglaries should be directed to police on 101.

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