A teenager has been sentenced to almost four years in prison over a series of burglaries and thefts in areas including Swanley, Sevenoaks and Tonbridge.
Between 1 May and 29 September 2017, Freddie Stephens stole items including high value cars, jewellery and electrical items, during a crime spree across west Kent which also included properties in Borough Green, Aylesford and Biggin Hill.
Two of his associates, Brett Smith and Wayne Pickett, were also jailed after they admitted involvement in some of the crimes. In total Kent Police investigated at least 20 burglary offences, which were linked to Stephens either acting on his own or with others.
All three were arrested on 28 September 2017, after patrols searching for a stolen Audi found it in Zambra Way, Seal. The car was unoccupied but officers waited nearby, anticipating the offenders would return. Shortly before 2pm a Land Rover entered the road. Stephens, Smith and Pickett were all inside and were arrested. Stephens tried to run from the scene, but was tackled to the ground.
A search of the Land Rover revealed it contained a number of cloned number plates, believed destined for use on the stolen Audi and other vehicles. A car key to a stolen Fiat was also recovered as well as a variety of screwdrivers and tools suspected to have been used during burglaries.
The investigation led to the discovery of further evidence, including Stephens’ DNA on a motorbike helmet found at the scene of a crime in Swanley. When officers recovered a stolen Seat Leon belonging to another victim, DNA from gardening gloves and a fingerprint on a sweet wrapper linked Smith and Pickett to the vehicle.
Video evidence also showed how a victim in Biggin Hill foiled Stephens’ attempts to break into his property, after confronting him at his front door.
Appearing before Maidstone Crown Court all three were sentenced on Monday 30 April 2018. Stephens, aged 19 and of no fixed address, pleaded guilty to six counts of burglary, one count of attempted burglary, five counts of possessing criminal property, two counts of theft and two further counts of taking a vehicle without the owner’s consent. He was also convicted of possessing quantities of cannabis, crack cocaine and heroin. Stephens was sentenced to three years and nine months.
Pickett, aged 24 and of Mills Crescent, Seal, pleaded guilty to burglary and possessing criminal property. He received an 18 month sentence.
Smith, aged 19 and also of Mills Crescent, Seal, admitted a charge of burglary and two counts of possessing criminal property. He was also sentenced to 18 months.
Detective Constable Raj Dusanjh said: ‘These men targeted homes often in isolated areas, stealing possessions and valuables worth thousands of pounds. Whilst we have thankfully been able to return a number of these items to their rightful owners, their crimes have caused a huge amount of anguish and distress to victims and we are working hard to ensure justice does not end with these prison sentences. We will now look to use The Proceeds of Crime Act with the aim of clawing back any benefits these criminals may have gained from their activities.’