A knife wielding burglar from Tonbridge who was identified after a victim recognised his voice has been sentenced to seven years in prison.
Oliver Bowles was part of a trio of thieves who, wearing balaclavas, burst into a property and demanded cash from the occupants. They knocked on the front door of a flat in Trench Road at around 8.45pm on 28 January 2020. When the door was answered the men barged their way inside, before threatening the victims, by waving around large kitchen knives.
Despite his face being partially covered, Bowles’ voice and features were recognised by one of the victims, who screamed his name and told him to leave. After stealing around £290 in cash from a bedroom and some tobacco, all three fled.
Officers attended the scene and on learning that Bowles was believed to be involved later located the 22-year-old at his home in Shipbourne Road. He was arrested and a pouch of tobacco believed to have been stolen during the burglary was seized as well as clothing matching that of one of the suspects. The investigation also led to evidence that Bowles and an accomplice visited an off-licence shortly after the crime took place, with CCTV footage showing them buying items with a bundle of cash.
Bowles admitted it was him in the CCTV, but initially denied any involvement in the burglary insisting he had been at home at the time. Appearing before Maidstone Crown Court he was charged with aggravated burglary and possession of a knife in a public place. He pleaded guilty and was sentenced on Friday 12 June.
DC David Evans of the Chief Constable’s Crime Squad said: ‘This was a targeted and planned burglary during which these men subjected their victims to a truly terrifying ordeal. Unfortunately for Bowles things clearly didn’t go as intended. He quickly realised one of the victims was known to him and then tried to keep his head down, but by then it was too late. Bowles will now serve a significant prison sentence, whilst our investigation to bring to justice others involved in this crime remains ongoing.’