Prolific burglar jailed

A NINE-month police operation to stop a spate of burglaries has resulted in the jailing of a prolific burglar.Lee Cottrell, 30, of Winston Avenue, Tiptree, was this week sent to jail for five years after pleading guilty to a string of burglaries.

A NINE-month police operation to stop a spate of burglaries has resulted in the jailing of a prolific burglar.

Lee Cottrell, 30, of Winston Avenue, Tiptree, was this week sent to jail for five years after pleading guilty to a string of burglaries.

He appeared before Chelmsford Crown Court on Thursday , where he was charged with 27 offences of burgling homes in Tiptree.

Cottrell was caught after a nine-month police inquiry, called Operation Octane, led by Colchester police's southern community policing team.


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Officers spent many nights carrying out undercover surveillance, often in freezing temperatures.

A police chief yesterday praised the team for their patience and “diligent investigation by interviewing officers”.

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Inspector Keith Jones, of the southern community policing team, said: “Operation Octane was a model team effort.

“The drive and commitment of our officers in working night after night on surveillance in the bitter cold during January and February is a side of police work the public don't see.

“It was frustrating in that although we were working hard to capture this man, we were unable to communicate to the public what we were actually doing.

“The support police have received from the Tiptree community was always there and it gives us great pleasure to return to them with this result.”

Police campaigns, such as Operation Octane, have seen domestic burglaries in Essex drop by 17.3% in the last year.

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