Teen burglar caught after 'complete stroke of luck'

-Credit: (Image: Humberside Police)
-Credit: (Image: Humberside Police)


A teenage serial burglar who was part of a "gang" that targeted houses in Hull – while the unsuspecting occupants were asleep – was quickly identified and caught after "nothing but a complete stroke of luck".

Young criminal Jamie Ellerington had been involved in stealing a BMW car from outside a house during the night but the canny and resourceful owner had put a tracker on the vehicle and he used the app on his phone to find out exactly where the car was.

By another amazing coincidence, the owner's brother lived in the very street that the stolen car had been taken to after the burglary and he was able to spring into action and block it in until the police arrived. Fingerprint evidence from a can of soda that he left during another burglary also sealed his fate, Hull Crown Court heard.

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Ellerington, 18, of Biggin Avenue, Bransholme, admitted eight offences, including burglary, attempted burglary and theft of two cars.

Billy Torbett, prosecuting, said that a woman went downstairs at a house in Woodhall Street, east Hull, at 3am on January 27 to have a drink but she found two cans of Pepsi Max soda on the side. She discovered that items were missing, including a wallet, containing £10 cash, bank and identity cards, as well as two Xbox controllers and three e-cigarettes.

The door handle casing of the house had been snapped to get in. "Crucially, a fingerprint was forensically removed from one of the soda cans on the kitchen side," said Mr Torbett. It was found to match Ellerington.

On March 24, Ellerington and two others targeted four properties. "They were successful in forcing entry into three properties but appear to have been scared off by a dog at the final address," said Mr Torbett.

At one property, in St Ives Street, Bransholme, Hull, the occupier awoke at 6.20am to hear his dog barking and a loud bang. He saw two males passing a tool between themselves and attempting to force entry by snapping the lock. They ran off.

At another house in St Ives Street, a woman awoke to find police in the house and they explained that there had been a burglary. Medication, house keys and a phone had been taken.

Earlier, Ellerington and his accomplices raided a house in Hull. The occupier noticed that a sliding door, connected to the conservatory, was wide open. The door's lock barrel had been broken.

His car, a black BMW 1 Series, was missing. "He fortunately had a tracker on his vehicle and, using the application on his smartphone, he determined that it was at an address on Enstone Garth, Bransholme," said Mr Torbett.

"By nothing but a complete stroke of luck, his brother resides on that street and found the vehicle and boxed it in before calling the police."

Video stills confirmed that Ellerington was in the car with two others. On March 25, Ellerington and two others entered a property in Ullswater Drive, Hull, during the night by removing a rear door lock barrel. Ellerington was involved in stealing car keys for a white VW Golf, which was taken. A coat was also stolen.

"There's clearly some degree of planning," said Mr Torbett. During police interview, Ellerington made no comment to most questions but he did say: "It was not me that messed up, though." He had a previous conviction in May last year for taking a vehicle without consent.

Cathy Kioko-Gilligan, mitigating, said that, during one of the burglaries, Ellerington was not present but he was in a vehicle. He acted as part of a group enterprise.

"This is immature behaviour," said Miss Kioko-Gilligan. "It's clear that this defendant's life was not going well. He lost his employment. He felt like he was losing his grip on life. His relationship came to an end.

"He became involved with unsavoury associates. In custody, he has had time to reflect.

"He expresses his remorse to the court and obviously to the complainants. He acknowledges that his behaviour has caused them significant anxiety and anguish."

Judge Tahir Khan KC told Ellerington: "You had just turned 18 years of age at the time of these offences. It's clear to me that you are sorry for your involvement in this offending.

"There can be absolutely no doubt that these offences were planned. That obviously makes the offences more serious. Victims were asleep in their beds when the burglaries occurred.

"High-value motor vehicles were stolen in the course of these burglaries. I am told that each of the vehicles was worth in excess of £10,000."

Judge Khan added: "The defendant was part of a gang who went out and committed these offences."

Ellerington, who was already in custody on remand, was sent to a young offenders' institution for three years and four months.