Thief targeted charity shops in £1,000 nine-day burglary spree across Portsmouth and Hampshire

A man who stole more than £1,000 from charity shops and local businesses during a burglary spree has been jailed.

Christopher Rees, 43, of no fixed abode, appeared at Portsmouth Crown Court yesterday and pleaded guilty to six counts of burglary. Police have called his crimes ‘particularly abhorrent’, and he was jailed for three years and nine months.

The court heard that the six offences took place at five charity shops and one hairdressing salon over nine days last year – between December 11 and December 19.

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Christopher Rees, 43, of no fixed abode, admitting burgling five charity shops and one hairdressing salon in nine days last December Picture: Hampshire police

The charge sheet included:

- Overnight between December 11 and December 12, a St Winifreds Hospice Charity Shop in Seaford, Sussex, was broken into and £253 in cash was taken.

- Overnight between December 16 and December 17, the Barnados Charity Shop and the British Heart Foundation Charity Shop on High Street, Cosham, were broken into. Nothing was taken in either incident.

- On the same evening, the Headway Brain Injury Charity Shop on High Street, Cosham, was broken into and £500 in cash was taken.

- Overnight between December 18 and December 19, 2020 the Age UK Charity Shop on Lavant Street, Petersfield, was broken into and £53 in cash was taken.

- On the same evening, Lisa Edwards Hairdressing on High Street, Petersfield, was broken into and £400 in cash was taken.

Rees was linked to all six offences through mobile phone, CCTV and forensic evidence.

PC Dave Rowe, who led the investigation, said: ‘Any crime of burglary is despicable and has a lasting and immeasurable impact on its victims, however to target charity shops and local businesses is particularly abhorrent.

‘Rees committed his crimes when Hampshire, and indeed the whole country, was facing uncertainty around changing Covid-19 restrictions under the Tier system and his offending added greater stress to an already incredibly difficult time for the businesses he targeted.

‘We are pleased that he will now face the consequences of his actions and hope that this sentence sends a clear message that crimes of this nature will not be tolerated. We take crimes like this very seriously and will investigate all available lines of enquiry to identify those responsible and bring them to justice.’