Man hid in tent for nine months while on the run after burning evidence

PUBLISHED: 09:10 19 May 2018 | UPDATED: 18:03 19 May 2018

Norwich Crown Court. Picture Adrian Judd.

Norwich Crown Court. Picture Adrian Judd.

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A man helped a burglar escape justice by burning important evidence then went on the run for more than nine months and evaded capture by living in a tent in Dereham, a court heard.

Steven Suggers, 35, let the offender stay at his home, in Little Snoring, and when police investigating the break-in called at his address shortly after the burglary they found Suggers destroying evidence by burning the clothing worn by the burglar, on a bonfire in his garden, Norwich Crown Court heard.

Suggers, of Portway Square, Norwich, admitted assisting an offender on April 9, 2016, and also a bail act offence when he failed to turn up for a court hearing in February, last year.

He also admitted six thefts from shops amounting to £1372, when he stole items while homeless.

Jailing him for 18 months, Judge Katharine Moore said that his actions had impeded the police investigation into the burglary and as a result no one had ever been caught for the break-in.

“Assisting an offender is a serious offence.”

She said his actions also led to the long delay in the case coming to court and had left witnesses waiting to get an outcome in the case.

She said Suggers had also then failed to turn up for his court hearing in February, last year, and it was not until December, last year, he was finally arrested after he had been living in a tent, in Dereham.

Jonathan Goodman, for Suggers, said that he regretted his actions in allowing the burglar to stay with him: “He gave this man some help and was repaid by the man running away leaving him to carry the can.”

Mr Goodman added: “He realises that assisting an offender is a serious matter and cannot be tolerated.”

He said it had been a rash decision to help the offender by burning the clothing and said there had not been any planning.

He said about half and hour after the burglary had been reported, police had come to his home and found him burning the clothes in the garden: “It was foolhardy.”

Mr Goodman said Suggers, who committed the thefts from shops when homeless and without any benefits, had just started to get his life sorted out when he was tracked down and arrested.

Mr Goodman said Suggers had not turned up for his court appearance as he had “buried his head” in the sand.

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