Redbridge homes targeted in drug addict’s £1.1m burglary spree

Radas Balkevicius was jailed for four years. Picture: Essex Police

Radas Balkevicius was jailed for four years. Picture: Essex Police - Credit: Archant

A Lithuanian drug addict, who netted £1.1million in a burglary spree involving 169 homes, was jailed for four years by a court on Friday.

Radas Balkevicius, 22, raided houses in Redbridge, Chelmsford Crown Court heard, as well as properties in neighbouring Havering, and Essex.

He pleaded guilty to two burglaries and one attempted burglary but asked for 166 other offences to be taken into consideration.

Balkevicius, of Daventry Road, Harold Hill, targeted high-value properties between April 2009 and May this year, the court was told, but only £250,000-worth of items were recovered,

Jailing him, Recorder Caroline Goodwin said he had “wrecked” householders’ lives.

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“This is nothing other than appalling offending over a significant period of time. You have been a prolific burglar, with or without others,” she said.

“Someone’s home is a place of refuge where they should be able to feel safe, to be able to leave their valuables and personal possessions and not expect when they come home to find their house disturbed, broken in.

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“Those homeowners will have been significantly traumatised.”

When arrested Balkevicius, a drug addict at the time, admitted burgling a home in Glovers Field, Kelveden Hatch, Brentwood, and stealing two Rolex watches worth £13,000, nearly £2,000 cash and electrical items, altogether totalling £15,500, on New Year’s Eve 2012.

He also admitted an attempted burglary at North Hill Drive, Romford, on April 12 2009.

While on remand, he accompanied police officers on trips to identify houses he had broken into.

Prosecutor Richard Kelly told the court heard that without his help those 168 offences would never have been detected.

His confession had also helped his victims.

The defendant wrote a letter to the judge in which he said he wanted to change his life and wipe the slate clean.

He stated: “I believe by doing this it will provide closure for all my victims and if I could I would tell them face-to-face.”

Mitigating, Peter Marshall, said: “He is intelligent, articulate, thoughtful and considerate. He recognises that his victims have suffered.”

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