Burglar admits 88 break-ins during crime spree

A ONE-MAN crimewave has been jailed for a total of eight years after admitting 88 burglaries along with firearms charges.

Mark Davis, of Mendlesham Road, Brockford, targeted petrol stations, schools, pubs, and social clubs during his prolific smash-and-grab spree, Ipswich Crown Court heard.

Seventy-two of the break-ins took place in Suffolk and 16 in Essex.

The 50-year-old had pleaded guilty to ten burglaries, but asked for the remainder to be taken into consideration.

While carrying out the raids, balaclava-clad Davis often smashed his way into businesses which were unoccupied, using a wooden implement.

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He then stole cigarettes by scooping them into a plastic dustbin which he then emptied into the boot of his car. At other premises he stole cash.

Michael Crimp, prosecuting, told the court the value of the damaged property and goods stolen came to at least �76,000.

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He said that from early 2008 Suffolk and Essex was plagued by a series of break-ins.

Among the premises which suffered were Lumberjacks in Bramford, Norton Service Station, Mellis Primary School, the Stonham Magpie, Washbrook Service Station, Snax service station in Ellenbrook Green, Ipswich, and the Co-op in Laxfield. Cracknell’s Garage in Thurston was hit twice in four days in February this year.

Davis, formerly of Maldon, Essex, also struck three times at Ardleigh Service Station and at twice at both Lawford Service Station, near Manningtree, and Great Horkesley Garage, near Colchester.

When police swooped at his caravan in Brockford early this year they also found weapons in a shed next door, which doubled as a lavatory.

Officers also discovered a jacket similar to that worn in the burglaries and shoes with the same tread as the marks left at some crime scenes.

A balaclava, black plastic dustbin, bin liner and cigarettes were found in the boot of Davis’ car.

Although Davis never carried a gun during his raids, a .38 Smith and Wesson revolver, around 35 expanding cartridges, and a self-loading 12-bore Beretta shotgun - all stolen - were found in his shed.

They also discovered a 12-bore Beretta smooth-bore shotgun stolen from the Great Blakenham area in November 2006. There were also approximately 100 cartridges.

The court heard Davis made a full confession to all the burglaries and acknowledged the firearms were in the shed.

Andrew Shaw, mitigating, said his client felt forced to commit the burglaries because he could not get a job as he felt prospective employers were prejudiced against him for being part of the travelling community.

Davis was sentenced to three years in prison for the burglaries and an additional five years for the firearms offences.

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