Prolific burglar, 68, jailed again

Simon Berkowitz Image copyright Devon and Cornwall Police
Image caption Simon Berkowitz has committed at least 250 break-ins over a half a century

A burglar with an "appalling record" of 250 break-ins during a 50-year criminal career has been jailed.

Simon Berkowitz, 68, was given a six-year sentence for breaking into a retired couple's home just 16 days after being given early release.

His crimes include trying to sell stolen documents in 1992 about Paddy Ashdown's affair with his secretary.

Berkowitz, from Hove, denied burglary but admitted five counts of using their bank cards fraudulently.

Judge Francis Gilbert QC told him: "You do not feel the least bit of sympathy for what you have done.

"It is perfectly obvious you have no regrets or remorse whatsoever. Burglary is your chosen way of life.

"You are a persistent burglar. You have an appalling record and it is extremely likely you will continue to offend."

Gaffer tape

About two weeks after being freed half way through a five-and-a-half-year sentence, Berkowitz travelled to Devon in search of properties to burgle.

He broke in to the home of pensioners John and Ann Searle on Guy Fawkes night last year while they were away on holiday.

Berkowitz was caught on CCTV when he used Mr Searle's stolen bank cards to obtain £1,100 in Sidmouth and Exmouth.

Police arrested him in Sidmouth carrying a rucksack containing a burglary kit consisting of metal levers, gaffer tape, two torches and a piece of wire bent into a hook.

He denied burgling the house in Hillside Road, Sidmouth and told Exeter Crown Court he had no need to steal because he inherited £4,000 from his mother who died during his last jail sentence.

The jury took less than an hour to convict him after hearing his list of previous convictions dating back to 1961.

Related Topics

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites