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Man jailed for string of Surrey shed break-ins
11:53am Wednesday 27th February 2013 in Local News
A 52-year-old man has been jailed for a year for a string of shed break-ins across Surrey, including in Betchworth, and a garage break-in in Reigate.
James Akehurst of Sythwood, Woking, pleaded guilty to ten counts of burglary, and asked for two other offences to be taken into consideration, when he appeared for sentencing at Guildford Crown Court on Friday, February 15. The burglaries involved the theft of thousands of pounds' worth of garden equipment, and took place between March and December last year. The offences included shed break-ins in Peaslake, Horsell, Betchworth, and a break-in at a garage at a house in Reigate.
Akehurst was arrested in Kent on December 12 when police stopped a BMW car he was driving. Inside, officers found frozen meat and alcohol that had been stolen in the Reigate burglary.
He was also disqualified from driving for 18 months and the court ordered the forfeiture of two vehicles. Detective Sergeant Ian Paley said: "Akehurst was a prolific offender whose crimes spanned a wide area across Woking, Guildford and the Mole Valley.”
Det Sgt Paley said: "These types of offences can cause great distress and inconvenience for the victims.
“The successful outcome of this investigation demonstrates Surrey Police's commitment to tackling burglary, and our determination not to let it blight our local communities." Neighbourhood Sergeant Sam Barwood said: "Information we received from the local community helped identify Akehurst as a suspect for these offences, and I would ask residents to continue to remain vigilant to any suspicious behaviour in the neighbourhood.
"The contents of sheds can mount up to thousands of pounds and a little time spent on improving security could save the huge cost and inconvenience of having to replace items and repair damage."
Surrey Police is recommending a raft of security tips to shed owners including fitting a good quality padlock, which has a hardened steel shackle, to all shed doors, using anti-tamper screws or smearing hard setting glue on the screw-heads of the door hinges, locking or permanently fixing windows shut and covering them, and installing a shed alarm. Website: www.surrey.police.uk