A car dealer has been jailed after he went on a two month burglary spree to raise money to repay a customer who bought a dodgy car.
Dean Romain stole thousands of pounds of jewellery and antiques from 12 houses in Teignbridge, Mid and East Devon.
He was caught after being stopped for a driving offence and police linked him to the raids after finding stolen gems in his car and home.
Analysis of his phone showed he had been in the areas where each of the burglaries was carried out at exactly the time they were committed.
He always struck at addresses in the most affluent areas and waited until the owners were out before breaking in and making untidy searches.
His offences happened between March and May at Topsham, Moretonhampstead, Kenton, Brampford Speke, Sidmouth, Shillingford, Shobrooke, Aylesbeare, Tipton St John, Clyst St Mary, Beer and Exeter.
Romain (27), of Batavia Drive, Exeter, admitted 12 burglaries and was jailed for 37 months by Judge Graham Cottle at Exeter Crown Court.
He told him: ”You went on a spree for two months during which you targeted unoccupied dwellings where the pickings were likely to be fruitful, as indeed they were.
“You carried out untidy searches and stole significant amounts of property with his emotional and sentimental as well as monetary value.
“The effect on all the people involved would necessarily be very significant. That is why burglary is such a serious crime.”
James Taghdissian, prosecuting, said detectives started recreating Romain’s movements through tracing where his phone had been used after his arrest for a driving offence in May.
They were able to link him to the string of high value burglaries at homes all around Exeter but he denied he committed them.
Taghdissian said: ”He was quite defensive and became aggressive and argumentative about these matters with the police and eventually refused to give an account.”
Mark Jackson, defending, said Romain had been driven by the need to pay off debts incurred through an earlier addiction to heroin and arising from his business as a self employed car trader.
He said: ”He has two children and was supporting his family by selling motor vehicles. He is very concerned about the impact of imprisonment on his young family.” (Source: North Devon Journal)