East: Man Jailed for Theft and Burglaries

A man who admitted thefts and burglaries in Norfolk and Suffolk where he took property worth nearly 30 thousand pounds has been jailed.

A man who admitted 56 offences in Norfolk and Suffolk, including thefts and burglaries where property worth a total of over £28,000 was stolen, has been jailed for 18 months.

Matthew Eke, 35, formerly of Tayfen Road in Bury St Edmunds, admitted offences including a burglary at Bury St Edmunds Cathedral on Wednesday 21 September, where a charity box was smashed and donations stolen.

Eke was arrested by police on September 28 in connection with a burglary at business premises at Angel Hill in Bury on the evening of Sunday 25 September. He was charged with this offence and went on to co-operate with police officers on Operation Converter - an initiative by Suffolk Police which encourages offenders to admit offences in order to give their victims some peace of mind.

One of his 'taken into consideration' offences, which date back more than ten years, was a theft of a charity box from the Cathedral in 2009.

In total Eke admitted 21 burglaries of 'other' buildings (not occupied homes), 32 thefts, two criminal damages and a theft from motor vehicle offence. Twenty six of the crimes were in Suffolk and 30 in Norfolk - many of them burglaries and thefts from shops in the Great Yarmouth area.

The Suffolk offences included:

  • Burglaries at unoccupied houses Churchgate Street in 2000 and Crown Street in Bury St Edmunds in 2010
  • A theft from a locker room at leisure premises in Beetons Way in Bury in July 2011 and a burglary and another theft at the same premises in September
  • The theft of an iPod from school premises at Beetons Way, and the theft of cash from the same premises a few days later in September
  • A burglary at business premises at Northern Way in Bury in June 1998 in which computer equipment was stolen.
  • The theft of computer games, meat and alcohol from four separate supermarkets in Bury St Edmunds - totalling six separate crimes
  • The theft of a TV from a supermarket in Beccles in July 2001 - and the theft of alcohol from the same store on two further occasions in 2001
  • A break-in at a school in Bury St Edmunds in August this year. However on this occasion an alarm was triggered and nothing was stolen. A second burglary at the premises on September 25 was also admitted by Eke - this time he stole a laptop computer. * The theft of alcohol from a supermarket in Stowmarket in August this year
  • A burglary at an industrial unit on the Shepherds Grove Industrial Estate in Stanton in July 2008. * A burglary at another school in Bury St Edmunds in December 2003
  • A theft from a home in Valley Way in Newmarket in December 2008 where a games console and games were stolen.

Dc Duncan Etchells, of the Operation Converter team, said he hope the result would give Eke's victims some closure.

"These offences affected a lot of people over a period of years - from those at the Cathedral and schools who had to deal with the loss and clearing up after Eke to those individuals who were victims of thefts. We are pleased he decided to co-operate with us in order to give his victims some peace of mind that someone has been traced and dealt with for these crimes - in some cases years after the original offence."