Ipswich: Prolific criminal burgled to help pay for wife’s funeral

SERIAL burglar Paul Ely is finally behind bars today after breaking into a house in the hope of getting money to help pay for his wife’s funeral.

Last month a judge at Ipswich Crown Court branded drug-addicted Ely – who has 116 convictions – a “pest and a thorough nuisance” when fining him �5 for his 44th shoplifting offence.

However, four weeks later Ely burgled a house in Salisbury Road, Ipswich, after police who had been watching him saw him acting suspiciously.

The 46-year-old, of Vernon Street, Ipswich, is now serving a total of three years’ imprisonment after admitting burglary and possession of a knife.

Prosecutor Richard Wood told the town’s crown court Ely and another man had been seen by police on August 10 looking at various properties.


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Ely broke into a house in Salisbury Road through a back window, leaving his blood on it, the court heard. When he came out of the property with a jewellery box and other personal effects he was arrested by police.

Officers also found a folding knife on Ely.

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Roger Thomson, mitigating, said Ely spends a lot of his money on drink and drugs, and was drunk at the time of the break-in. He also told the court Ely’s wife had died last September.

Mr Thomson said: “He tells me he still owes �1,000 for the funeral, and says that is one of the reasons for the burglary.”

Sentencing Ely, Recorder Christopher Morgan told him: “You are a third strike burglar. I have not gone through your record, but I know it is appalling.

The judge said he was aware the background to the burglaries Ely commits is his desire for heroin.

Recorder Morgan added: “You needed to pay for that and you do that by burgling people’s houses.

“You were knocking on the doors of houses and if you received a response you moved on. If you didn’t there was a good chance it was empty. You went into this woman’s bedroom and took her jewellery. Because you were caught, at least that jewellery was returned to her.”

Ely was given a 28-month jail term for the burglary. When committing the break-in he had breached a 12-month suspended sentence. The court activated eight months of that term and added it to the 28 months to make a total of three years in prison.

When Ely was sentenced after admitting shoplifting in mid-July he only had �20 on him.

The prolific criminal had been caught in May stealing food from Sainsbury’s in Upper Brook Street.

Sentencing Ely at Ipswich Crown Court, Mr Justice Saunders fined him �5 and ordered him to pay a mandatory �15 surcharge, right.

Ely was spared prison on that occasion because it was said he had been making good progress since receiving his suspended sentence in March last year for being in possession of a knife.

However, he was also arrested on July 5 for being drunk and disorderly when the Olympic Torch came through Ipswich.

Ely was abusive to police when he was among the crowds at the Waterfront.

When his case came before South East Suffolk Magistrates’ Court he was fined �50, and ordered to pay costs of �85 and a �15 victim surcharge.

His previous suspended sentence was also extended.

In May this year Ely was before Ipswich Crown Court after burgling a garden shed in Bishop’s Hill, Ipswich, on December 1.

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