Ipswich: Renewed calls for European database after burglar had convictions in Lithuania
11:49 13 February 2014
A burglar whose suspended sentence was branded as “excessively lenient” by Suffolk’s Police and Crime Commissioner had a criminal record in his homeland, it has emerged.
Mantvydas Kristaponis, of Woodbridge Road, Ipswich, is understood to have convictions for theft and public order offences in Lithuania.
His case once again raises the issue of people with criminal records coming into the UK from EU countries unchecked.
East Anglian MEP Vicky Ford has been at the forefront of a campaign to combat cross-border crime and put a system in place that can be used across Europe.
After hearing about the latest case in which Kristaponis burgled a house in Crowfield, near Stowmarket, stealing items including a diamond ring and two necklaces last July, Mrs Ford said tracking-system was essential.
She added: “We need a database. Furthermore we need to make sure countries upload their information on that database. We have got a system where it’s going to make it easier for the UK law enforcement authorities to access the information, but we need to have countries putting that information on the database.”
After Kristaponis was spared jail at Ipswich Crown Court on Tuesday, Suffolk PCC Tim Passmore said: “I would like people to think about what message this sends to the victims and also what type of deterrent this has to potential offenders.
“The constabulary spends a lot of time and effort bringing these people to justice. What sort of message does that send to the constabulary and what sort of effect on morale when this happens?”
Kristaponis, 24, had admitted burglary and was given a 10-month suspended prison sentence, three-month curfew order and put under supervision for six months
He was caught after cutting himself when he broke into the Crowfield house through a kitchen window.
A witness saw a distinctive yellow car with flowers on it and a Lithuanian number plate. Although the vehicle’s owners were cleared of any involvement, police checked with the Lithuanian police and Interpol and discovered Kristaponis was in his country’s DNA database.
In November last year Mrs Ford hosted a one-day conference at UCS in Ipswich with the town’s MP Ben Gummer, PCCs from across East Anglia, senior police officers, Home Office staff, and representatives from Interpol.
A major element was looking at ways of tracking criminals across Europe and to ensure there was prompt action at borders to keep undesirables out.
New systems to check on the status of people arriving in the country were due to be introduced this year, and new checks on those leaving the country should come in during 2015.