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“Brazen” Romford burglar jailed for spate of burglaries across Essex

James Hearne was described as “brazen” by police

A prolific burglar from Romford, who targeted homes across Essex, has been jailed for nine years.

James Hearne, 29, stole people’s cars and used stolen bank cards at takeaways and petrol stations.

A police investigation linked him to burglaries in Brentwood, Chigwell, Woodford Green, Harlow, Wickford, and Witham, with the offences occurring between November 2019 and March 2020.

Detective Sergeant David Wilkinson, of Brentwood CID, said: “Hearne is a prolific burglar who has received a substantial custodial sentence for his crimes.

“He was brazen, targeting homes across Essex to steal the occupants’ vehicles before using their bank cards to pay for food and other items.”

Among the offences was a burglary in Brentwood, where several watches were stolen.

Hearne went on to burgle a house in Harlow while the occupant was away before stealing a vehicle and using her bank card to order food.

He then burgled properties in Chigwell and Woodford Green on the same evening, taking two cars and using bank cards at a petrol station and at a McDonald’s restaurant.

Hearne was caught using a stolen card in a McDonalds

Hearne went on to burgle an address in Wickford, before burgling a home in Witham on the following day.

He stole vehicles during these burglaries and was then arrested in Romford on Tuesday, 31 March.

The 29-year-old appeared by video link at Chelmsford Crown Court on Thursday, 16 July.

He received eight years for six counts of burglary and six months for two counts of theft. He also received concurrent sentences for a further three counts of theft and for four counts of fraud.

DS Wilkinson added: “Hearne left a trail of evidence behind and we made it our mission to bring him to justice.

“His DNA was found at burglary scenes and within the vehicles we located and his image could clearly be seen during his visits to petrol stations and fast food restaurants.

“I know our communities and our homes are safer with Hearne locked in a prison cell.”

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