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10 September 2010, 16:30
A prolific distraction burglar who used to pretend to be a police officer to get into homes has been jailed for 11 years at Norwich Crown Court today.
49-year-old Neil Seagrave from Fitzgerald Road in Norwich stole thousands of pounds from people across the country - including Suffolk and Norfolk.
The investigation was one of the most significant cases handled by Norfolk Police's Operation RADAR team - set up to tackle distraction and rogue trader type offences.
On Wednesday, 6 January, 2010 he was arrested at his home on Fitzgerald Road.
He was then charged with 22 counts of burglary relating to areas including, Thetford, King's Lynn, Norwich, Swaffham, Great Yarmouth, Ipswich, Cambridgeshire, Stockport, Humberside, Staffordshire, West Mercia, Manchester, Lincolnshire and Northamptonshire.
On Wednesday, 4 August, Seagrave pleaded guilty at to all counts and asked for a further 79 such offences to be Taken Into Consideration (TIC'd) - totalling 101 offences.
In total Seagrave stole thousands of pounds from his victims - much of which was spent on gambling. He also however, used the cash to pay for expensive stays in luxury hotel suites in areas he was planning to target.
As well as gaining from his crimes Seagrave was claiming between £1,600 and £2,000 a month in benefits.
Det Con Dave McCormack from Norfolk Police told Heart: "He's one of the most prolific I've seen. It's just unbelievable really as to how many burglaries he actually got away with. He's obviously clued himself up, done his research and it just shows that he is a dedicated criminal. Normally (with) distraction burglaries it's really untold as to how many have been committed. On this particular case we didn't know how many he's committed, because he's so specific, he's used really traceable techniques and we were just absolutely gobsmacked."