A prolific burglar has been jailed after committing a series of offences in Worthing.
Lee Gibson, 38, of no fixed address, was arrested after he broke into a house in Marine Parade in the early hours of 20 April and stole items including an electric scooter, car keys, a wallet and an iPad.
The occupants reported the incident to police but were unable to provide a description as they did not see the suspect. Therefore, Dog Unit officer PC Ryan Ashworth was deployed along with Police Dog Cara.
She tracked from the scene to Montague Street, where the suspect was found. He was challenged but made off on a bicycle.
Meanwhile, PC Ashworth noticed an electric scooter matching the description of the one stolen in an encampment in the doorway of a disused building nearby.
He continued to search for Gibson – assisted by CCTV operators – while other officers remained with the stolen property, and Gibson was eventually found hiding in a stairwell in Augusta Place.
During his arrest, he resisted officers and was abusive and threatening towards them. He was subsequently arrested for burglary and assaulting a police officer.
The items he stole were recovered and Gibson was remanded in custody to prevent further offending.
In the meantime, detectives were able to charge him with numerous other offences he was linked to.
He was charged with burglary at Cock’s Kitchen Café in Brighton Road on 7 September, 2022, after his DNA was found on a bottle of beer left at the scene.
He was further charged with burglary at The Cricketers Inn, in Broadwater, on 19 April this year after he was identified on CCTV.
Gibson was also charged with theft, criminal damage and possession of cannabis at Lidl in North Street on 17 March.
And he was charged with burglary at The Park View pub in Salvington Road on 31 March this year after again being identified on CCTV.
Gibson appeared before Crawley Magistrates’ Court on 21 April, where he pleaded guilty to all offences and was further remanded in custody.
He then appeared before Lewes Crown Court on 19 May, where he was sentenced to a total of 136 weeks’ imprisonment.
Detective Sergeant Phil Weston-Smith, of CID, said: “A considerable amount of work went into securing these charges against Gibson to ensure he could be held accountable for his actions and to protect the local business community from further harm.
“I’d like to praise the numerous officers involved in responding to these incidents, including the work of our forensic investigators who gathered valuable evidence. I’d also like to single out Detective Sergeant Gary Jacobs and Detective Constable Matt Watson, who went above and beyond to build a file to present to the Crown Prosecution Service when time was of the essence.”
Chief Inspector Sarah Leadbeatter, District Commander for Adur, Worthing and Horsham, added: “While there are a number of preventative steps businesses can take to protect themselves from crime, we acknowledge that some individuals are intent on offending. That’s why we need the public to remain vigilant and continue to report any crime or suspicious activity to us.
“Business crime can cause a huge amount of distress and inconvenience to those who are simply trying to earn a living, and it will not be tolerated.”
Find out how to protect your business from crime here.