July 30 2014 Latest news:
Peter Walsh, Crime correspondent
Saturday, May 17, 2014
Two men caught as part of a specialist police operation to drive down an increasing number of burglaries in the city have been jailed after they targeted a house just days before Christmas.
A dedicated team of plain-clothed officers had been patrolling burglary hot-spots while targeting suspects and known prolific offenders following the launch of a crackdown at the end of last year in response to a rise in the number of burglaries in Norwich.
Dean Knappett and David Frost were apprehended as part of the operation following a burglary at a property in Holls Lane, Norwich, on December 21 last year during which an Acer laptop, DVD player, digital water meter, clothing, computer games and aftershave worth £900 were taken.
Knappett, 42, of Elstead Court, Stonecot Hill, in Sutton, Surrey, and David Frost, 35, of no fixed abode but previously of William Kett Close, Norwich, appeared at Norwich Crown Court yesterday to be sentenced after previously admitting the offence.
Knappett, who had only just been released from Wayland Prison the day before the offence, was jailed for 14 months and Frost, who also admitted two further counts of assaulting a police officer, was given 28 months.
Sentencing the pair, Judge Katharine Moore said: “The two of you were working together and between you had an implement – you were going equipped for burglary.”
She added: “Shortly before Christmas the loser and the victim of your offending must’ve been sorely inconvenienced and distressed.”
Earlier Stephen Spence, prosecuting, said that Knappett made his way to Norwich where he met up with Frost and they had carried out the burglary at Holls Lane while the owner was out.
A fire extinguisher was used to smash a glass panel in the door and items taken included a laptop, computer games, a watch, clothing and a Norwich City Football coat.
Mr Spence said the pair were arrested after they aroused suspicions of a store detective as they were seen trying to sell the laptop to people on the street.
John Farmer, mitigating for both defendants, said neither man knew the other previously but having both recently been released from prison “bumped into each other at the railway station”.
Knappett, who has 136 previous convictions to his name and an addiction to heroin, and Frost, who has 105 previous convictions and problems with alcohol, then decide to commit this “unsophisticated burglary”.
Mr Farmer said Knappett pleaded guilty at the first opportunity while Frost, although a three strike offender, had not committed a dwelling burglary since 2004.
He added: “They are what used to be referred to as old lags.”
Speaking after the sentencing, superintendent Dave Marshall, Norwich Policing Commander, said: “A number of people, including Knappett and Frost, were arrested as part of a specialist operation targeting burglaries in Norwich which increased in December and January.
“These crimes are intrusive and often traumatic for victims so it’s pleasing to see those responsible brought to justice and put behind bars where they belong.
“We constantly review our tactics in order to prevent and detect these offences which we take very seriously.”
More than 25 people were arrested as part of the burglary crackdown which has seen offences significantly reduce.
Since the beginning of April this year figures show there has been a 33pc reduction in the number of burglaries reported in the Norwich district compared to the same period last year.