Lavenham/Needham Market: Man jailed after victim’s son turned detective

Ipswich Crown Court

Ipswich Crown Court

TWO valuable clocks stolen during a burglary in Lavenham were traced after the victim’s son turned detective and tracked them down to a clock restorer, a court has heard.

The clocks - an 18th Century clock and a carriage clock - worth several thousand pounds were stolen during a burglary at a house in Lavenham High Street in July last year, Ipswich Crown Court was told.

The son of the victim of the break-in contacted an antiques dealer in Long Melford and he referred him to an antique clock restorer in the Woodbridge area, said Michael Crimp, prosecuting.

The restorer said he had been contacted in July by a man who was selling the clocks and had agreed to pay him £2,000 for them.

“As a result of being contacted by the victim’s son the clocks were recovered from the dealer in Woodbridge,” said Mr Crimp.

Before the court was Michael Hart, 48, of Meadow Close, Lavenham, who admitted converting criminal property in respect of the clocks.

He also admitted burglary at house in Belvedere Road, Ipswich, on January 17 and possessing class A and class C drugs worth £300 and was jailed for a total of 26 months.

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Mr Crimp told the court that Hart told the police he had bought the clocks at a car boot sale at Needham Market for £140 and had thought there might be something “a bit dodgy” about them because they were so cheap.

He said that after doing some research on the internet Hart had realised they might be worth as much as £4,000.

Mr Crimp said Hart had admitted lying to the clock restorer about where the clocks had come from and had told him they had belonged to his late grandfather.

In January this year Hart had broken into a house in Belvedere Road, Ipswich and had stolen property worth £1,500 including a laptop computer, a PlayStation console, cash, a camcorder, an iPod and speakers.

The owner of the property had left it secure and had returned home to find a kitchen window had been smashed with a brick.

Mr Crimp said the laptop computer had contained a number of the owner’s personal details and also had a number of irreplaceable photographs of sentimental value on it.

Hart was arrested after blood found in the house was found to match his DNA and heroin and diazepam worth £300 were found in his possession.

Lori Tucker for Hart said her client had a drug habit and had been receiving help while he had been in prison.

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