Burglar first in Hampshire to be sentenced from GPS tag data following launch of Ministry of Justice scheme
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A burglar from Southampton is the first in Hampshire to be sentenced thanks to GPS tag data since the rollout of a scheme by the Ministry of Justice.
Paul Collins, 31, from Fritham Road, Southampton, appeared at Southampton Crown Court today (Tuesday, 11 October), having pleaded guilty earlier this month to burglary.
This related to an incident on 28 August this year, when Collins broke into a flat in West End Road, Southampton.
The occupant was not in at the time but used a ring doorbell camera with motion sensors inside her property to monitor her flat.
At 5am that day, she checked the camera via her phone, and saw that a man was inside her lounge, rifling through a chest of drawers by her TV.
She called police and made her way back home, where she discovered her Nintendo Switch console had been stolen, as well has her Soda Stream machine and a bottle of Baileys.
Access had been gained via a window.
Hampshire Constabulary’s burglary investigation team, Operation Hawk, identified Collins as the suspect because he was wearing a Global Positioning System (GPS) tag fitted in March, when he was released from prison for another residential burglary in Southampton.
The data from the tag showed he was at the victim’s address at the time the crime was committed.
For this latest burglary, Collins was jailed for 16 months and ordered to pay a £187 victim surcharge.
Detective Chief Superintendent Paul Southey said: “The public should be reassured, and criminals should know, that we take burglaries of victim’s homes very seriously. Burglary is one of the most intrusive and impactful crimes and in recognition of this we have committed to attending every report of someone’s home being burgled, whilst also making the best use of our forensic, investigation and intelligence teams who are determined to catch those responsible so that they can be prosecuted for their crimes.
“The introduction of this Ministry of Justice led tagging scheme is another positive step forward in reducing burglary offences and giving the police clear opportunities to quickly catch those that do re-offend.”
In March 2021, the Ministry of Justice announced that burglars, thieves and robbers would be made to wear GPS tags to track their movements following their release from prison as part of a ‘world-first scheme’ to crack down on neighbourhood criminals.
The acquisitive crime tagging pilot is part of the Government’s £183 million expansion of electronic monitoring, which also includes sobriety tags and curfew devices.
Probation Minister, Rob Butler MP, said: “This shows the real-world impact of our new tagging project as it helps us to crack down on burglars, thieves and the untold misery they cause communities.
“The £183 million investment we’re making in electronic monitoring is a game-changer for the police – giving them the means to keep close tabs on criminals and make our streets safer.”
To report a burglary to us, please call 101 or report on our website.