A man who carried out a campaign of burglaries at houses in Coventry and Leamington to steal cars worth a total of more than £140,000 has been jailed.
Joshua Campbell had initially pleaded not guilty at Warwick Crown Court to five charges of burglary and eight of theft – but then changed his pleas to guilty at a further hearing.
Campbell (30) of Pinley Fields, Stoke Aldermoor, Coventry, who had previous convictions going back to when he was just 11, was jailed for six years and four months.
Prosecutor Stefan Kolodynski said: “These are planned, targeted high-value domestic burglaries, often committed with others.”
Having been released from his last prison sentence in May last year, in November Campbell broke into a house in Foster Road, Coventry, while the family who lived there were asleep.
He got in by using a blow torch to expose the corner of a UPVC window which was then broken, and then carried out an untidy search during which he took jewellery, cash and car keys.
Campbell, acting with at least one other person, then used the keys to steal a BMW and a Ford Ka from outside.
And the first the family knew was when the woman’s mother, who lived next-door, phoned at 7am, having got up and noticed that that cars were not there.
In January this year a couple were away overnight to visit the wife’s sick grandmother, and on returning to their home in Mapleton Road, Coundon, they saw her VW Polo had been taken.
After struggling to get in because a key had been left in the lock from the inside, the couple found a rear window had been smashed and ‘every room and drawer had been untidily searched.’
High value jewellery had been stolen, as well as the key to the Polo which was later found abandoned and burned-out after being involved in a collision in Leicestershire.
On February 22 a Leamington couple returned to their home in Lillington Road to find their £40,000 Range Rover, in which they had a quantity of fencing equipment including masks and epees, had been taken.
A ground floor window at the house had been smashed, and jewellery and watches had been taken during an untidy search.
Then on June 27 Campbell took part in a night-time break-in at a house in Hinckley Road, Coventry.
But the owner was woken by an app on his phone which had been activated by a motion sensor in the house.
On realising someone was on the landing outside his bedroom, without opening it, the quick-thinking owner rattled the door which caused Campbell and his accomplice to flee.
But they had taken his wallet, cash and the keys to his Mercedes car in which one of them drove off, followed by the other burglar in the Citroen car in which they had arrived.
Not content with that, they then broke into a house in Holyhead Road, Coventry, and took the keys to two VW cars, one of which also had the keys to the husband’s business in it, which they then stole.
The first those householders knew about it was when they police knocked on their door, having arrested Campbell after being called by the previous victim.
Officers had searched the area and seen two men walking away from the Mercedes, which had been left in Grayswood Avenue, and after a chase found Campbell hiding in a nearby wood.
Mr Kolodynski added that Campbell could be linked to the burglaries by his blood and DNA being found in the addresses.
Delroy Henry, defending, said: “He wants to express his apologies and remorse, for what it’s worth.”
Jailing Campbell, Judge Anthony Potter told him: “You have got two children, a son who’s eight and a daughter who’s 13.
“You ought to be able to appreciate the sentiments of the householders in this case, outlining the fears that their children face.
“When you began this spree you were on licence, having served a sentence for two other dwelling house burglaries.
“This was a campaign of burglary. It is depressing to listen to the amount that was taken on each occasion, the ransacking that took place in a number of the five properties, and the effect it has had on the householders.”