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7 February 2014, 14:36 | Updated: 7 February 2014, 14:44
A burglar who targeted two homes in Chatham on the same day has been sent to jail after halting his own trial and pleading guilty.
Kelvin Barham, from Becket Avenue in Canterbury, was standing trial for burglary at Maidstone Crown Court. He had denied removing a copper tank and piping from a house in Haig Avenue, Chatham, on 17 September.
Part-way through the trial on 6 February Barham announced he was changing his plea to guilty. Barham also admitted to committing a second burglary, in Terence Close, and to an offence of fraud whereby he had tried to sell some of the stolen items to a second-hand retailer. He asked for those additional offences to be taken into consideration by the court.
The court had heard how Barham had ripped the boiler from the house in Haig Avenue while the tenant of the house was out, causing substantial water damage to the property. When the tenant returned he confronted Barham, who made off from the scene without the boiler.
Later the same day in nearby Terence Close, Barham used a chisel to break in through a window and then helped himself to electrical items worth £1,600.
The judge handed the 27 year-old to 52 month sentence.
Kent Police’s investigating officer DC Sasha Monck said: ‘Because Barham refused to admit to the offences when they were first put to him, he forced the victims to go through the ordeal of preparing for a trial and giving evidence in court.
‘On sentencing, the judge made a point of mentioning the aggravating factors in this case – that Barham caused thousands of pounds worth of damage at the address at Haig Avenue and that he stole games consoles and computers belonging to young children from the property in Terence Close.’
DC Monck added: ‘He has a previous history of offending so I am happy to see Barham back behind bars.’