Man who burgled home of friend of 12 years caught after leaving can of John Smith’s

Norwich Magistrates' Court. Picture: Denise Bradley.

Norwich Magistrates' Court. Picture: Denise Bradley.


A 22-year-old man who stole £4,000 of jewellery from a safe when he burgled the home of his friend’s parents was caught as he left a can of John Smith’s at the scene.

Arran Burgess told police after his arrest he had been drinking and taking drugs before breaking into the home on Sukey Way, Norwich, on June 23.

After failing to open the safe, which contained his friend’s late grandparents’ wedding rings, he hid it in a nearby bush, and claimed it had disappeared when he returned to fetch it.

Wayne Ablett, prosecuting at Norwich Magistrates Court, said homeowners Mr and Mrs Batley had left for the afternoon and returned at 4pm to find the back door unlocked.

“When they got inside an empty can of John Smith’s bitter was there which had not been there previously,” he added. “They found a safe on top of the wardrobe in the bedroom was missing which contained items including jewellery, watches and paperwork to the value of approximately £4,000.

“The John Smith’s can went off for forensic analysis and came back as a match for Mr Burgess. Officers attended his address on July 24 to arrest him but nothing was present. Later that day Mr Burgess found out he was wanted and handed himself in to police, where he made full admissions in police interview.

“He said he had had an argument with his partner, got drunk and taken a large amount of drugs. He went there hoping to speak to his friend but the address was empty and he climbed through a top floor window.

“He attempted to hide the safe in a nearby bush. He went back to find it was no longer present, so that has gone completely.”

In a victim impact statement read to the court, Tracey Batley said she was “devastated” by the betrayal.

“I feel so disappointed he has done this to me and my family,” she said. “I have known him for 12 years due to his friendship with my son. He was like another brother in his eyes. Dwight is devastated and feels he has been betrayed and can no longer trust.

“As a reminder of my parents I inherited their wedding bands. They were a symbol of my parents love and devotion and the rings were all I had left. I am heartbroken.”

Chairman of the bench Sophie Archer sent Burgess, of Caddow Road, to crown court for sentence as the lower court’s powers would not be sufficient.

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