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Serial burglar jailed for 'campaign' of shop break-ins

PUBLISHED: 19:00 24 April 2019

Marc Nicholls, who has been jailed for a series of shop burglaries in east Suffolk Picture: SUFFOLK CONSTABULARY

Marc Nicholls, who has been jailed for a series of shop burglaries in east Suffolk Picture: SUFFOLK CONSTABULARY

Archant

A burglar who stole more than £3,000 during a "campaign" of break-ins at shops and charities in Southwold and Woodbridge has been jailed for four-and-a-half years.

Jailing Marc Nicholls at Ipswich Crown Court, Judge David Goodin said he had targeted small and often family-run businesses – and on some occasions, the amount of damage caused to the premises had exceeded the amount of money he had stolen.

He said Nicholls had an appalling record for commercial burglaries and described the break-ins in Southwold and Woodbridge as “a campaign of burglary”.

The burglaries caused so much concern at the time that a public meeting was held with police in Woodbridge to address the problem.

Nicholls, 36, of Hawke Road, Ipswich, admitted eight offences of burglary in Suffolk, attempted burglary and burglary with intent to steal.

He also admitted two burglaries in Cornwall.

The offences, which happened between December 21, 2017 and January 29 last year, targeted a number of well known Southwold businesses and the St Elizabeth Hospice charity shop.

The British Red Cross was also among the three premises hit in Woodbridge.

The full list of offences are:

Southwold High Street

• Attempted burglary at Serin Aveda hair salon and burglary at the Treatment Room at Bramley House on December 21, 2017, during which £472 was stolen.

• Burglary at Tilly & Grace Boutique on December 27, 2017, during which £180 was stolen from a till.

• Burglary at the Black Olive Delicatessen on January 6, 2018, during which £686 was stolen.

• Burglary at the St Elizabeth Hospice charity shop between January 7-8 2018, during which £500 was stolen.

• Burglary at Mark's Fish Shop between January 12-15 during which a hard drive for CCTV was stolen.

• Burglary at The Salon on January 29, 2018, during which £1,000 was stolen from a safe.

Woodbridge Thoroughfare

Burglaries at the British Red Cross during which £150 cash was stolen and the Happiness Store during which £300 was stolen and burglary with intent to steal at The Sandwich Shop between January 12-13.

Charles Kellett, prosecuting, said that during the burglaries attempts were made by the intruders to push CCTV cameras out of the way – but despite this, Nicholls was identified by police officers.

Hugh Vass for Nicholls said his client was approaching 40 and realised it was time to change his ways.

Businesses targeted during Marc Nicholls' “campaign” of burglaries say they are happy that justice has been done.

Among the shops raided by the serial burglar was the Black Olive Delicatessen in Southwold's High Street.

Manager Maureen Bushell said she was pleased to hear he was now behind bars.

“I think it's good news”, she said.

“We are really pleased.

“It is good to hear that justice gets done once in a while.

“It is the disruption it causes that affects you most.

“We came in to find the place in a state of disarray with broken glass everywhere. It is not a nice feeling to go through.

“To know that person is now convicted is a relief.”

The Happiness Store in Woodbridge was also targeted by Nicholls.

Manager Joanna Reynolds said: “I am sorry there are people out there like that but its good when the justice system works.”

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