Suffolk: ‘Professional burglar’ jailed

A PROLIFIC burglar who raided homes while their owners slept has been jailed for more than four years.

Judge John Devaux branded Ian Ling a “professional burglar” before handing down the sentence at Ipswich Crown Court yesterday.

Ling, 60, of Harrier Way, Stowmarket, was previously found guilty of 11 counts of burglary and one count of going equipped to steal – charges he had denied.

A further charge of possession of criminal property was left to lay on file.

Joanne Eley, prosecuting, told the court that Ling was responsible for stealing property valued at more than �20,000 from homes across Suffolk and Essex.

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The burglaries, at addresses in Coddenham, Earl Soham, Bacton and Thorington, occurred between October 2007 and November 2008.

Ling was arrested on November 7, 2008, in the grounds of Thorington Hall, near Blythburgh, after the owner’s daughter reported seeing someone creeping around.

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Ling’s stepson Clive Clark, 40, was also arrested and he was also charged with going equipped to steal following the discovery of a glass cutter and craft knife.

Clark was later convicted after a trial.

During their investigations, police discovered that Ling rented a lock up in Stowmarket Road, Stonham Aspal, which contained a treasure trove of antiques, paintings, jewellery and furniture.

They later held an open day at Halesworth police station in the hope of reuniting the items with their rightful owners.

Richard Potts, for Ling, said there were two previous convictions on his record dating back 20 years.

“He is now the age of 60 and has led, up until his conviction, an industrious family life – one in which he has established himself as a keen and popular member of his community.”

In mitigation, he said that Ling had not caused any “gratuitous damage” and there was no “obvious ransacking” at the houses.

He added: “Some of these properties had an appearance of being abandoned or were falling into considerable disrepair.”

Clark, a carpenter of Tollgate Lane, Bury St Edmunds, said he accepted the jury’s verdict.

His solicitor, Pauline Thompson, said: “It is a great shame he finds himself in this position at the age of 40.”

Refuting claims that the delay in the case coming to court had impinged the freedom of both defendants, the judge said: “Had you pleaded guilty the case would have been disposed of a long time ago.”

Turning to Ling he added: “You intended to burgle Thorington Hall, you are a professional burglar who committed 11 burglaries at homes in Suffolk and east Essex and this is a case that involved premeditation and therefore planning.

“You had your lock-up and on the day of your second arrest you were transporting stolen property in your van.”

He continued: “Some of the residents were in their homes at the time, although happily there was no confrontation.”

He ordered Ling to serve a total of four-and-a-half years imprisonment.

Clark as ordered to complete 200 hours community service and to make a contribution towards costs of �1,500.

A proceeds of crime order will be sought to recoup any profits made as a result of the thefts.

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