Prolific Brighton offender jailed for burglaries, arson and assaulting a police officer
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A prolific Brighton offender has been jailed for carrying out three burglaries in quick succession, setting fire to one of the properties involved and headbutting a police officer while in custody.
Police were called to West Drive, Brighton, during the early hours of May 13 by a resident reporting his wife had disturbed an intruder inside their home.
Officers arrived to discover the suspect standing in the street opposite the property, revealed to be 37-year-old Samuel Wesley of Clifton Avenue, Littlehampton.
A search of Wesley found a number of items reported stolen by the victims.
While at the scene of the burglary officers came across a fire in an unoccupied building next door, which had caused significant damage to all three floors.
Further investigation showed forced entry to the property and scraps of wood spread out along the ground floor which had been set alight, suggesting a deliberate attempt to set fire to the building.
Wesley was also found to be in possession of house keys connected to a burglary reported only a few hours earlier in Broad Street, Brighton, in which items worth thousands of pounds were stolen.
Wesley was arrested and taken into custody, where he headbutted a police officer in the face and attempted to bite him.
He was charged with three counts of burglary, which included stealing a hammer from the fire-damaged property to break into the house next door, arson and assaulting a police officer.
At Lewes Crown Court on Friday (December 10), Wesley – who had 31 previous convictions from 64 offences - was jailed for three and a half years, having previously pleaded guilty to all charges.
Detective Inspector Donna Ward said: “Samuel Wesley is a prolific criminal with dozens of convictions stretching back over twenty years.
“These latest incidents brought harm to a number of innocent victims, from the violation and financial loss that comes with a burglary, to the senseless damage of a property under renovation and assault of a police officer.
“As a force we remain committed catching those who harm our communities, and hammering home the message that the abuse of officers performing their duties will not be tolerated.”