“Prolific” Colchester burglar jailed following town centre thefts

Colchester burglar Jon Birch has been jailed by Essex Police after stealing from HMV, Boots and Holl

Colchester burglar Jon Birch has been jailed by Essex Police after stealing from HMV, Boots and Holland & Barrett in the town centre. Picture: ESSEX POLICE - Credit: ESSEX POLICE

A burglar described as “prolific” by Essex Police has been jailed for 20 months after admitting stealing £5,000 of goods from HMV, Holland & Barrett and Boots stores.

Jon Birch, 40, of no fixed address, admitted five counts of burglary at Chelmsford Crown Court on Wednesday, April 24.

He was arrested by police after being recognised from CCTV images captured at the scene of the burglaries, where he stole aftershaves, perfumes and three turntables, as well as protein powders and vitamins.

His first target was the Boots store in Lion Walk, Colchester where he smashed the front door on March 19 at 10pm, fleeing the scene with stolen cosmetics.

Two days later, he smashed another shop front, this time the HMV in Culver Square, where he made off with three turntables.

His crime spree continued as police received three further reports of burglaries over two days from March 24, again including HMV and Boots in addition to a Holland & Barrett store.

Sergeant Martin Wilsher of Colchester’s Community Policing team said: “Birch is a prolific burglar who targeted Colchester town centre’s business community late at night for his own financial gain.

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“He smashed his way into them, causing a large amount of damage, before stealing items.”

Sgt Wilsher added that the stolen items, estimated to have a value of around £5,000, were never recovered.

“The burglaries resulted in a financial loss to the businesses and caused further disruption because of repair work,” Sgt Wilsher added.

“I believe Colchester town centre can only be a better place to work and shop with Birch locked in a prison cell.”

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