UPDATED: Tag is police’s buddy as prolific burglar is jailed for six years

Matthew Nicholson

Matthew Nicholson

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A prolific burglar who tried to go straight when he signed up to a scheme to help police rule him out of crimes has been jailed - after a tag helped bring him to justice.

Matthew Nicholson (29) of Fair View Court, Woodston, Peterborough, has spent much of his life going in and out of prison.

After being released from his last sentence - a four year jail term for burglary - in August, he pledged to go straight.

In January he voluntarily signed up for the police ‘buddy’ scheme - which saw him tagged so officers could rule him out if offences took place.

But in the space of 48 hours at the beginning of February he burgled three homes in the Woodston/Fletton area of the city.

Peterborough Crown Court was told evidence from the tag was used to convict him - and also allow police to trace him to a bus, where he was arrested - and promptly burst into tears.

Yesterday (Wednesday) he was jailed for six years after pleading guilty to three counts of burglary, one count of theft and one count of possession of cannabis.

Marti Blair, prosecuting, told the court: “The victims of all the offences were in their homes sleeping at the time.

“One of the victims was disturbed by Nicholson, and he fled the scene.”

The first offence took place on January 31 in Palmeston Road when Nicholson entered a home, whilst the occupants were asleep, and stole various electronic devices, a purse, jewellery and tobacco.

On the same day, Nicholson targeted a Renault Megane in Swain Court and stole a satnav, charging wire, a pair of boots and sunglasses.

On February 2, he stole a wallet, a scarf, a pair of gloves and a laptop bag from a home in Silver Street before breaking into another property in Melrose Drive and taking a TV box and wallet.

The following day, Nicholson was arrested in Peterborough after CCTV linked him to the incidents and the stolen property was recovered at his home address.

Miss Blair said along with evidence from the tag, CCTV was used to catch him. The court was told Nicholson had five previous convictions for burglary, dating back to 2006.

Marilyn Vitte, defending, said: “Nicholson is remorseful, and indicated by his guilty pleas. His record is unattractive. He has suffered significant mental health issues, and also suffers addiction problems.”

She said Nicholson had no memory of any of the latest offences he had committed, after taking a new drug which ‘did not agree with him.’

Miss Vitte added that some of the items Nicholson had stolen had been recovered.

Judge Sean Enright, sentencing, said: “You are a young man struggling to overcome difficulties, but you have been before the court so many times.”

The cannabis Nicholson had in his possession when he was arrested was ordered to be destroyed.

DS Dave Taylor said: “Nicholson was a prolific offender and the homes of Peterborough will be a safer place with him behind bars.

“The sentence serves as a warning to anyone committing this crime and the force continues to prioritise burglary as part of Operation Hunter, which aims to put offenders before the courts.”