Sheppey: Burglar Tracked By App

A Sheppey burglar caught red-handed with a pair of stolen live chickens in a bag by officers who used a mobile phone tracking app to catch him has been jailed.

After drinking a bottle of whiskey to drown his sorrows having just lost his job, Aubrey Hope, 24, went on a burglary spree across Minster 'to make money for himself.'

His mini crime wave began overnight on 26 August when he targeted a shed at the back of a property in Marian Avenue. Spying a number of chickens with what he described in interview as having 'afro haircuts' he broke into the pen and stole three of the birds. Intending to continue burgling, he left the chickens in a wheelie bin to collect after his campaign.

He then walked to Poppy Crescent and stole three BMX bikes, a mountain bike and a screwdriver. He discarded one of the BMX bikes as it had a puncture before stashing them back at home in Lapwing Close.

Hope then set off for Noreen Avenue and targeted an aviary in a back garden. Using the screwdriver he had stolen from Poppy Crescent, he forced entry to the aviary and stole a cage containing canaries. This was added to his hoard at Lapwing Close as he set off for his last and final burglary.

Upon noticing a front door ajar in Lupin Court, at about 3.30am on 27 August, he went in and took a Playstation 3, an iPhone, iPad 2, wallet and cash, watch, bracelet and sunglasses; all while a couple and their two year old son were asleep upstairs.

Not content with his stolen stock, Hope planned to steal the family?s Alpha Romeo GT parked in the driveway.

In a bungled attempt to snatch the car, he attempted to reverse the car out of the drive but stalled it. He got angry with himself and tried to reverse again but accelerated too quickly and collided with a neighbour?s VW Polo.

The sound of the collision woke the victim and neighbours, who saw Hope run away from the property.

Officers from Kent Police attended and used a mobile phone tracking app to locate the iPhone stolen from Lupin Court. The signal led them to Lapwing Close. Just as officers were about to enter the property, Hope arrived, together with a bag containing the stolen chickens from the Marian Avenue break.

He was detained and later arrested when the stolen property was recovered.

Hope admitted burglary dwelling and asked for three further burglary other than dwelling offences to be taken into consideration.

During interview he said: "Words cannot express how sorry I am. I went back on all my morals."

He was sentenced yesterday (Tuesday) at Maidstone Crown Court to two years imprisonment.

Investigating officer, Detective Constable Iain Joyce of Kent Police, said: "This was a sorry tale in which Hope, having just lost his job, made a terrible decision that I'm sure will haunt him for the rest of his life.

"There's no doubt alcohol played a part in his decision-making that night, but it was no excuse and will be of little comfort to those victims that he targeted that night.

"His intention was to steal items that he could sell on quickly and clearly had given little or no thought to those he was stealing from, particularly the family asleep upstairs when he broke into their house.

"We were able to use a mobile tracking app to locate where Hope had stashed the stolen items and arrest him nearby with further stolen items from a previous break.

"People have a right to feel safe and secure in their own home and they can rest assured that Kent Police will continue to use everything in our power to locate offenders, arrest them and put them before the courts.

"I would urge Hope to use his time inside wisely and to contemplate his actions that night and the impact it no doubt had on those affected."