Portsmouth thief called police from jail to admit to 161 more crimes

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PROLIFIC thief Michael Antram stunned police by calling them from prison and confessing to 161 more crimes.

The 23-year-old admitted to some thefts from cars that police have said may otherwise have never been solved as he had already been quizzed about them and released with no further action.

Michael Antram

Michael Antram

Antram was serving a 30-month jail term for a string of other thefts from vehicles when he called detectives, saying he wanted to wipe the slate clean.

He was jailed for an extra 28 months by Judge Richard Price who said there is now ‘light at the end of the tunnel’.

Portsmouth Crown Court heard police visited Antram at Winchester Prison after his call.

He admitted burgling a home in Grant Road, Portsmouth, with others and to taking a £6,000 Mercedes A Class without consent from outside the home.

He said the group forced their way in through the front door while the occupants were in bed.

They stole a sat-nav and purse among other items before fleeing in the car.

The Mercedes was later found burnt out in Havant, but Antram said he had nothing to do with that and did not drive the car.

He had not been a suspect in either of those crimes until he told police of his involvement and that of others – whom he did not name.

Martyn Booth, prosecuting, said: ‘He was then to arrange other meetings with the police where he was taken out on a drive round. He was to accept that he had committed what one could probably described as a vast amount of vehicle crime.’

The majority of the crimes – 155 of which were taken into consideration – were thefts from vehicles.

He also admitted burglary, aggravated vehicle taking and four further counts of theft from vehicles.

Antram’s mammoth crime spree across Portsmouth, Fareham, Havant and Emsworth dated from about May 2009 to September 2013.

Howard Barrington-Clark, defending, said Antram, whose address was given as Winchester Prison but who previously lived in Portsmouth, had lived a ‘dark, drug fuelled lifestyle’.

He said: ‘The officer in the case was very clear that these are offences that have been considered to be filed in the sense that there was no suspect, no obvious person to charge.

‘It was the officer’s view that there was nothing other than him wanting to engage with police to come clean.

He added: ‘It’s right to say that he would never have been detected for these offences.’

Plea for drivers to secure vehicles after victims left them unlocked

POLICE have renewed their plea for drivers to secure their vehicles after it was revealed some of Antram’s victims left cars unlocked even after he had targeted them.

Antram confessed to his crimes as part of Hampshire police’s Clean Slate Programme.

He was charged with burglary, four thefts from vehicles and aggravated vehicle taking, while 155 other offences were taken into consideration at Portsmouth Crown Court.

Judge Richard Price told Antram: ‘It’s difficult to think of a more compelling reason that you do indeed intend to start a clean slate than the admissions you have made to the police.’

Speaking after the sentencing, PC Dan McGarrigle said: ‘The police had no evidence of who committed these offences and we would have never had them solved if Michael hadn’t participated in the process.

‘But more importantly we were able to tell 155 victims of crime we knew who was responsible and that they had shown remorse, meaning closure for the victims.

‘Michael only targeted vehicles that were left insecure.

‘He would simply walk along the road and into driveways checking car door handles.

‘If the vehicle was unlocked he would enter and steal any valuables or cash. While conducting the process Michael was driving around the area where he identified which vehicles he had taken items from. What was very obvious was that vehicles he had stolen from were still unlocked with valuables on display.’