Burglar jailed after being caught by victim

A PROLIFIC burglar who raided more than 20 homes across Ely has been jailed after being caught by one of his victims.

Stephen Neal, 25, of High Barns, Ely, was burgling a home in St Mary’s Street on the afternoon of November 19 when the occupant returned. Neal ran off but the victim chased him and caught up with him after Neal ran down a dead end.

Neal initially claimed he had been hiding from people he owed money to, but later pleaded guilty to burglary.

He asked for a further 18 house burglaries, two attempted break-ins and two business burglaries to be taken into consideration by the court.

Neal, who had previous convictions for burglary when he was a youth, was jailed for two years and five months at Cambridge Crown Court yesterday (Monday).

The court heard he had committed the burglaries during a three-month period in order to feed his drug habit.

Area commander, Chief Inspector Russ Waterston said: “Neal has been a prolific offender and brought misery to many victims in the Ely area. “The victim in the latest break-in showed great courage in chasing after him to ensure he was caught and ultimately brought to justice.” Detective Chief Inspector Andy Gipp added: “Neal caused significant damage to a small community over a period of time.

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“While we understand the reason behind his offending, such criminality is not acceptable and we will use every tactic available to us to target such offenders and bring them before the courts.”