Crack-addicted prolific criminal sent to prison

IPSWICH: A thief who has committed 149 offences is starting a two-and-a-half year jail term today after carrying out a burglary spree.

Crack cocaine addict Michael Harvey, of Reynolds Avenue, east Ipswich, broke in to five homes in the space of a few days in January, Ipswich Crown Court heard.

Harvey had turned to breaking into houses within the past year and his previous crimes were for other offences.

At the 31-year-old’s sentencing, Recorder John Akast said: “During almost all of his criminal time, although his behaviour is disreputable, he didn’t commit burglary until nine months ago. He has a shocking general record.”

Prosecutor Robert Sadd said Harvey had only been released from prison on December 30 last year when the break-ins began.

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On one occasion, Harvey was confronted by the tenant of a two-bedroom in Ashmere Grove, Ipswich.

The tenant returned home late in the evening on January 16. He saw Harvey when a head appeared around the bedroom door and then disappeared.

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The tenant chased Harvey downstairs and caught up with him in the kitchen. Harvey apologised to the tenant and emptied his pockets of the items he had stolen on the kitchen table.

Before fleeing he said: “It’s my first time. I have got a crack habit.”

However, the day before Harvey had broken into a property in Warwick Road between 9am and mid afternoon.

During the break-in, he stole a PlayStation 3, two cameras, and a laptop. One of the cameras contained family wedding photographs that were “irreplaceable”, according to one of the owners of the house.

The court heard Harvey also targeted a three-bedroom semi-detached house in Leopold Road.

The occupant came home to find tobacco and two laptops among the items stolen.

A house in Withipoll Street was broken into on January 20. When the occupant came home at lunchtime he noticed things had been moved around, a kitchen window had been tampered with and the back door was unlocked.

Loose change, tobacco and a stereo system were among the things taken.

Harvey, who admitted the five burglaries at an earlier hearing, then struck at a terraced house in Suffolk Road on January 21.

An engagement ring, an eternity ring, another gold ring, a gold bracelet, a Seiko watch and �20 in cash were stolen from the main bedroom. Two handbags and a spare wallet also went missing.

Mr Sadd said Harvey had been before courts on 38 occasions for 149 different offences.

n Have you been the victim of a burglary? E-mail eveningstarletters or write to Star Letters, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN.

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