A prolific burglar has been jailed after officers were able to forensically link him to a number of offences

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A prolific burglar has been jailed after officers were able to forensically link him to a number of offences.

John James Courtney, 44, of Longbridge Road, Dagenham, was sentenced to four years’ imprisonment for four burglaries carried out between August 2019 and January this year.

Targeting properties in west and central London, Courtney stole property worth £27,600, including £15,800 worth of items from just one address. He was identified after his DNA was found at or near all of the scenes.

On one occasion Courtney audaciously continued to steal items despite the resident of the property advising him on camera that he was calling the police. During another incident he threatened occupants with a knife when they interrupted him.

 On 31 August, Courtney struck at an address in Linden Gardens W2. While the occupant was out, he broke into the property and stole a number of high value items of jewellery, including necklaces, bracelets, rings and a watch. In addition, he took two laptops and a designer handbag. The total value of items stolen was £15,800. A blood smear discovered on the door lock was tested and provided a positive match to Courtney.

 On 30 September, Courtney was in the process of carrying out a burglary in Cleveland Street W1 when he was interrupted by the occupants returning home. As they made efforts to detain him, Courtney grabbed a knife, lunging at one of the occupants. A struggle ensued, during which Courtney’s glasses were broken. Both this and the knife – which he dropped while running from the property – were recovered by officers and proved vital in linking him to the incident.

 On 16 October, the resident of a property in Queens Gardens W2 received notification via his mobile phone that a camera inside the property had been activated. Viewing the live CCTV footage, he saw Courtney in the process of burgling his address. He communicated through the device to alert Courtney that he was calling police. Despite this Courtney continued before leaving the address. However, he left a mobile phone at the scene, which officers were able to link him too forensically.

On 10 January, Courtney stole a laptop and items of jewellery including a Rolex watch from a residence in Clifton Road W9. A piece of wood left at the scene and used by Courtney to force entry to the address were found. The total value of items stolen was £11,200.

Though officers from the Central West Burglary Unit were quick to link Courtney to the offences, and despite extensive inquiries to trace him, he remained elusive. Then on 11 February he was spotted and detained by police.

Courtney was charged and subsequently pleaded guilty to the following offences:

4 x burglary dwelling and theft
Breach of a criminal behaviour order
Possession of a Class B drug (cannabis)

He appeared at Wood Green Crown Court on 23 April and was sentenced.