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22 December 2010, 05:00
Four men from Essex and South-East London have been sentenced to a combined total of 12 years in prison after carrying out a string of burglaries across Suffolk and Essex.
The investigation and prosecution was led by the Eastern Region Special Operations Unit (ERSOU) which was formed in July to tackle serious and organised crime across East Anglia.
A number of burglaries were carried out at various shops across the two counties between October 2009 and August 2010. Villages include Kelvedon, Colchester, Manningtree, Sible Hedingham and Brightlingsea in Essex and Capel St Mary, Bareham, Claydon, Rickinghall, Debenham, Brantham, Woodbridge and Framlingham in Suffolk.
Duncan Rowland, a 22-year-old student from Charminster Road in Lewisham was arrested by Suffolk officers in Ipswich in May.
Martin Whalley, a 46-year-old labourer from Pegasus Way in Braintree was arrested by Essex road policing officers in Marks Tey in August, as was Peter Fabri, a 31-year-old builder from Bramdean Crescent in Lewisham.
Andrew Last, a 33-year-old demolition worker from Waverley Road in Eltham, was also arrested by Essex road policing officers in Marks Tey.
Martin Whalley pleaded guilty to 13 counts of burglary, while the other three men each pleaded guilty to two counts of burglary at Ipswich Crown Court on Friday 10 December.
At Ipswich Crown Court on Tuesday 21 December, Duncan Rowland was sentenced to two years’ imprisonment with a further six months to serve after also pleading guilty to dangerous driving for which he was also disqualified from driving for three years.
Martin Whalley was sentenced to six years’ imprisonment while Peter Fabri and Andrew Last were both sentenced to two years’ imprisonment.
Senior Investigating Officer, Suffolk’s DI Martin Wright who is on secondment to ERSOU, said: "This is a fantastic result for not only residents in Suffolk and Essex, but also for ERSOU. We’ve put paid to this gang who caused misery to small villages and communities for several months. They will not be pursing their criminal ways for a long time to come."