Clean slate' for youth who burgled hundreds of homes in Leicestershire and Rutland
A teenager who confessed to burgling hundreds of homes in a criminal career which began when he was 12 has been jailed for five years.
Adam Crampton, who recently turned 19, was already in prison for burglary and robbery when he admitted to detectives that he had burgled a further 278 Leicestershire and Rutland homes and, on 60 occasions, stolen his victims' cars or mopeds to make his escape.
He appeared at Leicester Crown Court yesterday to be sentenced for three specimen offences of burglary – with 335 burglaries and vehicle thefts taken into consideration.
The court heard that the teenager, of no fixed address, confessed to the offences because he wanted to "clear his slate" and make a fresh start in life.
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Crampton is expected to serve half of the five-year sentence before being freed on licence.
James Varley, for Crampton, told the court his client had had a difficult childhood and had spent some time in social services care, and had used cannabis, cocaine and alcohol at an early age.
"At that time, he had been led astray by more sophisticated, older people," Mr Varley said.
"His moral compass was set at the age of 12."
He said the teenager had overcome those problems and made great progress in his employment training while in prison.
Mr Varley said "each and every one" of Crampton's admissions has been scrutinised to ensure they were genuine.
"At last, the best part of 300 families can be told by the police that these matters have been dealt with," he said.
Sentencing Crampton, Judge Simon Hammond said he had been "a persistent and remorseless burglar".
The judge said: "He says he wants to make a fresh start with no other offences pending, hence this full and frank confession which has been helpful to the police and his victims.
"I just want the defendant to reflect on the impact of burglary. For many people, their homes are never the same again."
After the hearing, Detective Inspector Simon Cure, who led the investigation, said: "Today's result is a great success for the victims, who now know who committed the crimes against them and can see that justice has been done.
"This case also sends a message to offenders that we will persist with our criminal investigations until we have located the offender and brought them to justice.
"Adam has made it clear that he wants to take a new path in life and this is a path we would encourage any criminal to take."
Crampton appeared in court yesterday to be sentenced after admitting the crimes at a hearing last month. After that earlier hearing, one of his victims, 60-year-old Sylvia Hammond, said she was relieved to finally know the intruder's identity.
Crampton crept into Mrs Hammond's Oakham home in July 2007 and stole a laptop computer and a digital camera.
She said last month: "You hear that a lot of people in prison go back to their old ways when they are released.
"I just hope he doesn't, now that he has admitted all of these crimes."
Leicestershire Police is running a force-wide campaign, Operation Dynamo, to track down burglars and encourage people to take basic crime-prevention steps to protect their homes.
A total of 230 suspects have been arrested since it was launched at the beginning of August.