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Heroin addict dad is jailed after admitting 59 break-ins
2:00pm Friday 13th September 2013 in News
A BURGLAR who targeted dozens of homes has been jailed after being told his crimes had a “devastating” effect on the lives of his victims.
Ashley Rees, pictured, of Faber Close, Littlemore, Oxford, admitted breaking into 59 houses across Oxfordshire and Berkshire between 2008 and 2013.
Robert Spencer-Bernard, prosecuting, said on Tuesday that the 31-year-old was a “very prolific burglar” who targeted expensive-looking properties.
He was arrested after carrying out break-ins in Little Haseley between June 28 and August 29 last year, and this year in Kelham Hall Drive, Wheatley, between June 21 and 23, and in Old London Road, Wheatley, on July 31.
Among the items he stole were a laptop, a DVD player, watches, three TVs, a mobile phone, a Kindle book reader and an iPod.
Mr Spencer-Bernard told Oxford Crown Court that in the Little Haseley break-in Rees made off with around £3,800 of electrical items.
The barrister added that the defendant also admitted to carrying out a further 65 offences – 56 dwelling burglaries, four attempted burglaries, four non-domestic break-ins and one theft.
He said the most serious burglary was on July 31, when a woman in her 40s was left traumatised after waking up in her home and confronting Rees at 12.30am.
In a statement the barrister read out in court, the woman, whose house has been burgled twice by Rees, said he should be punished for his “dirty and cowardly” crimes which had left her feeling unsafe in her own home.
In total, the father-of-four has 27 previous convictions for 67 offences on his record, Mr Spencer-Bernard said.
Kate O’Raghallaigh, defending, said her client had been a heroin addict for years and only stole to fund his drugs habit.
She added that he became full of remorse when he was told about the distress of the woman who caught him in the act.
Miss O’Raghallaigh said: “Upon hearing about the impact that his crimes had had on this lady Mr Rees decided to wipe the slate clean.
“He wanted to bring closure to this lady and also bring closure to all the other victims of all the other burglaries he has committed.
“The police accept they would not be able to solve these crimes without Mr Rees.”
But Judge Mary Jane Mowat said bringing closure to his victims would not get them their belongings back.
She said to Rees: “If there was ever a stark illustration of the devastating effects of hard drugs it is you.
“ If anybody doubts what addiction can lead to they just have to look at your record.
“It is an addiction to heroin which has pushed you into being a very prolific burglar, causing untold misery to people who have had their homes invaded and their property stolen.”
She added that the effect on the woman who was confronted by Rees was also “devastating”.
He sentenced him to 40 months in prison.