Burglar caught red-handed after police tipped off by a neighbour

A smash-and-grab thief was caught red-handed ransacking a house by police who surrounded the property after they were tipped off by a neighbour.

Burglar
Christopher Burchell

Christopher Burchell had broken a window as he forced his way into the house in Netherton, alerting the concerned resident who rang 999.

Officers circled the property while the 43-year-old was still rummaging through the rooms.

He emerged minutes later with both hands held out in a handcuff gesture and on being quizzed by detectives admitted using the same tactics to break into another eight properties, Wolverhampton Crown Court heard. Burchell was jailed for four years.

Police today welcomed the sentence saying Burchell had caused ‘misery’ for families whose homes were burgled. He pleaded guilty to the burglary in Halton Street, Netherton, as well as two more in Yorkminster Drive, Chelmsley Wood, and at the home of a pensioner in Brabazon Grove, Castle Vale.

He asked for six other break-ins – five in Chelmsley Wood and the other in Tile Cross – to be taken into consideration.

Dc Craig Brewer of Solihull police said: “Burchell caused untold misery to many households. Four years is a significant sentence but we’re considering lodging an appeal to the court because we believe Burchell’s offending warrants a longer spell of detention.” Dc Brewer also praised the speed of the 999 call that helped trap Burchell.

Burchell, of no fixed address, stole an array of items from the home of a 73-year-old man in Brabazon Grovehaving plunged a burglar alarm into a sink of water in a bid to silence it and took a laptop and bank cards from Yorkminster Drive.

He also admitted Chelmsley Wood burglaries in Crabtree Drive on May 8, Lambeth Close on 15 October − where £600 cash and Euros were stolen − Glovers Croft on 21 December, Brook Farm Walk between 14-27 December, and Holly Lodge Walk on 17 January this year. And on January 13 he prised a UPVC panel out of a door in Shirestone Road, Tile Cross, before rummaging through the whole house looking for valuables.