Burglary victims tell of devastation after thieves’ raid

Colin and Mavis Hughes
Colin and Mavis Hughes
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DFS in Waterlooville. Photo: Google

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TWO serial burglars went on a crime spree to fund a drink and drugs binge after meeting in jail.

Now Michael Kelly, 39, and Jason Martin, 32, are each back behind bars for five years after committing a string of crimes on their release from prison.

Michael Kelly

Michael Kelly

We can reveal that:

* The pair have convictions for 284 previous offences between them

* They were both on licence when they committed their latest spate of burglaries

* Kelly admitted four burglaries, one count of handling stolen goods and one attempted theft and had 13 offences taken into consideration

Jason Martin

Jason Martin

* Martin admitted five burglaries and had 52 other crimes taken into consideration

* Kelly had been released from jail in August but Martin had left prison just the day before turning back to crime

Portsmouth Crown Court heard Kelly, of All Saints Road, Portsmouth, and Martin, of no fixed abode, targeted homes across Portsmouth, Fareham and Waterlooville in September.

They fled with a haul of jewellery, laptops, iPads, iPhones, cash, cars and other goods worth £41,819, often breaking into homes as the unsuspecting occupants slept.

Many of the items stolen have never been recovered.

In one burglary the pair crept into a Colin and Mavis Hughes’ bedroom at their detached, four-bedroomed home in the early hours.

Kelly and Martin stole a jewellery box from a bedside cabinet and Mr Hughes’ trousers containing his wallet and car keys while the couple were asleep in the same room.

When Mr Hughes, 66, and Mrs Hughes, 65, awoke at about 4am, they found Martin and Kelly had also stolen their Honda Accord, a bottle of 18-year-old whisky, phones, an iPad, a Kindle and even two packets of bacon from the fridge.

The pair fled with a string of other goods including a VHS camcorder.

The burglary happened on the same night that Kelly and Martin had each attempted to burgle neighbouring homes in Lyndhurst Road, Portsmouth.

Mr Hughes, of Jubilee Road, Waterlooville, said: ‘For the week or so afterwards, the devastation was knowing that they had been in our bedroom.

‘As everybody said, it was better that we slept though it.

‘Had we woken up who only knows what could have happened.

‘It’s pretty callous.’

He added: ‘I think it’s despicable.’

The pair’s crime spree came to an end when Martin was arrested on September 23 and Kelly four days later.

Matthew Jewell, defending Kelly, said: ‘They met up, as Mr Kelly describes it, and simply went on a binge, a long binge involving drugs and alcohol, and the commission of these burglary offences they did in order to continue this behaviour which was completely out of control.’

The court heard both men had suffered from drug addiction and are remorseful for their actions.

PC John Middleton, the officer in the case, welcomed their jail sentences.

PC Middleton said: ‘They are two gentleman who have spent a long portion of their adult lives in custody for similar offences.

‘As such I would hope that this outcome would serve to give some closure to the victims.

‘It will have an impact on Portsmouth – they committed a large number of offences in a short period of time.

‘These were night-time offences, often while the victims were asleep upstairs, and it is the impact on those victims which is most significant.

‘People need to feel safe in their own homes. I hope that these sentences will send a clear message that if you are going to come to Portsmouth and commit burglaries you are going to be dealt with robustly.’

Catalogue of crimes

Jason Martin and Michael Kelly committed a string of crimes in September after coming to Portsmouth

Burglary one – They targeted a home in Tennyson Road, Portsmouth

The female victim was at home when they broke in between 3am and 3.30am. They stole a Peugeot, and £15,000 of jewellery including items given to the victim by her late husband.

Burglary two – Martin admits burglary, Kelly admits handling stolen goods.

A terraced home was targeted while the victims were out. An iPad, iPad mini, car keys, laptop, iPhone and jewellery were stolen.

Burglary three – Kelly targeted a home in Laburnum Road, Fareham occupied by a couple and their son who were asleep at the time. Three phones, £1,000 cash, and an iPad, wallet and watch were stolen.

Burglary four – Martin and Kelly burgled a home while the occupants were out.

The stole electrical items, jewellery, three laptops, an iPad, a sat nav, a car and four jewellery boxes.

Burglary five – Martin burgled a home in Dover Road, Portsmouth while the occupants were asleep.

He stole a BMW, TV, Playstation and controls, laptop and other electrical equipment.

Burglary six – Kelly admits attempted burglary at a home in Lyndhurst Road, Portsmouth at about 10.40pm. He was seen trying to burgle one property while Martin targeted the home next door.

A woman chased the pair up the road to a Peugeot they had stolen in an earlier burglary

Burglary seven – Kelly and Martin later burgled a house in Jubilee Road, Waterlooville where they stole an iPad, jewellery, phones and a car.

Judge: This causes trauma

A JUDGE described Jason Martin and Michael Kelly’s crimes as a ‘determined and sustained spree’.

Sentencing the pair, Judge Roger Hetherington said: ‘High value items were taken, in particular, motor cars as a result of stealing keys within the properties. Some of the properties were turned over – ransacked – others involved considerable distress to families and people who would have been disturbed at the time or have suffered the upset of realising afterwards that they had been burgled when they were present in the premises.

‘It is hard to overestimate the trauma and upset experienced by occupiers in these circumstances, particularly where items of sentimental value have been taken and cannot be replaced.

‘But even on a monetary value, the amount that you took runs into several tens of thousands of pounds in value.’