Neighbour followed man who stole sentimental items from family home

Jake Brittain. Photo: Norfolk Police

Jake Brittain. Photo: Norfolk Police - Credit: Archant

A persistent burglar has been sent to prison after a quick-thinking neighbour spotted a crime taking place, followed the crook in her car and took his photo.

The neighbour was praised in court for her 'commendable public spirit' after Jake Brittain stole sentimental items from a family home.

Brittain, 26, was seen by the woman knocking on the door of a home in Hevingham, Norwich, with another individual, on Wednesday, August 15 this year, Norwich Crown Court heard.

Chris Youell, prosecuting, said: '[They] tried to open the kitchen window with a spade.'

Mr Youell said the window was then smashed with a hammer, and a 'great deal of damage and mess' was caused inside.

The neighbour photographed the burglars as they left the property.

She then followed them in her car as they carried two briefcases, containing items including jewellery, down Brick Kiln Road away from the scene, while her husband called the police, the court heard.

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The two individuals were later arrested and found with stolen items in their possession, which included a glove containing jewellery and three £20 notes.

Mr Youell described the couple's actions as displaying 'commendable public spirit.'

The victim told the court, in a victim impact statement, read by the prosecution: 'Since the burglary we have had to protect our two girls from the reality of the situation.'

They said friends of their daughters have not wanted to come over to see them during the school holidays, due to what had happened.

They added: 'For us it's more of a feeling of being violated and taken advantage of.'

They described cleaning one of the burglar's blood from their belongings as 'a disgusting task'.

The items were of personal value as they had been left by grandparents, which they said was 'particularly upsetting'.

Andrew Oliver, mitigating, said Brittain was 'very sorry for the pain and upset that he's caused.'

The court heard that Brittain had a number of previous convictions including two counts of burglary and had previously served a two year sentence.

He admitted the burglary.

Judge Bate sentenced Brittain, of no fixed address, to 876 days in prison.

Court proceedings are active relating to the second suspect in the case.