Jail for 22-year-old who committed 100 crimes in ONE night

Matthew Smith jailed for multiple offences

What possessed Matthew Smith to go on a crime spree may never be known. But on one night he created 100 victims of his crimes. - Credit: Cambs Police

A night in April is one more than 100 people will never forget as they became victims of crime – and of the same criminal.  

On April 8, Matthew Smith, just 22, went on an almost unbelievable crime spree.  

In one night, he embarked on a terrifying series of criminal activity ranging from slashing car tyres to arson.  

Police received in excess of 100 reports of damage on that fateful night.  

Across Paston and Dogsthorpe, Peterborough, callers phoned to tell police of criminal damage, arson, tyres slashed and front doors set alight.  


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Harebell Close, Dogsthorpe, was particularly affected with residents telling police of cars, vans or front doors being damaged by a blow torch.  

Crabtree Avenue, Furze Ride and Ulverston Close were also among the streets where Smith left a trail of damage. 

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 A public appeal was launched to identify the offender, which resulted in several calls to police naming Smith as the likely culprit. 

PC Kirsty Brodie said: “Smith’s actions that night caused a great deal of concern within the local community, and rightly so.  

“For unknown reasons, he went on a crime spree, causing damage to many people’s homes and vehicles.” 

PC Brodie added: “Thanks to some great joined-up working across different departments within our organisation the Response Investigation team have been able to bring Smith to justice.” 

Neighbourhood officers arrested Smith at his home in Somerby Garth, Welland, on April 9. 

He was further arrested for assaulting an emergency worker after he grabbed the head of the arresting officer. 

He was charged with eight counts of criminal damage, three counts of arson and assaulting an emergency worker, all of which he admitted at Peterborough Crown Court in May. 

On August 26 he appeared at Cambridge Crown Court where he was sentenced to a  a year and two months in prison.  

In total 117 offences were ‘taken into consideration’ when sentencing. 

It was never explained in court what took hold of him that night to make him cause such devastation and distress.  

PC Brodie commended those who had helped bring him to justice. 

These included those “who recorded the high volume of crime reports, the neighbourhood teams and initial responders dealing with the incidents and those who assisted with the investigation and securing charges”. 

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