Belfast Telegraph

'Civilian investigator' helped put prolific Northern Ireland burglar behind bars

Andrew Madden

By Andrew Madden

A "civilian investigator" helped police put a prolific burglar behind bars, it has emerged.

Samuel Crawford (32) was sentenced to two years in prison and two on license at Belfast Crown Court on Thursday in relation to 47 offences, including burglary and aggravated vehicle taking.

In November 2015, he led police on a 40-minute police chase through north Belfast before being apprehended.

Police said a team of detectives and civilian investigator "worked tirelessly" on the "complex investigation", during which they discovered a series of burglaries in Antrim, Newtownabbey and Belfast were linked.

Detective Inspector Chris Millar said: “We began with one burglary scene and as our enquiries progressed, it became apparent that Crawford had targeted many more during his offending, and that this burglary series actually started in September 2015.

“The painstaking and meticulous investigation conducted by the team was vital in building a clear and comprehensive history of Crawford’s offences.

"We are pleased today that our hard work has contributed to this sentence and we hope that it provides some comfort to his many victims.”

“During periods when Crawford was released on bail he continued to offend and has showed little remorse for his actions and the significant impact his offending has had on them."

On Thursday, the court heard that Crawford admitted five different types of crime but that his focus was burglary.

His usual method was to target several homes in a particular area on a single night.

While he lived in north Belfast he frequently targeted more affluent areas including the Fortwilliam, Glengormley, Newtownabbey, and Malliusk along with the Ormeau Road and east Belfast.

Defence QC Charles MacCreanor said Crawford's motivation was to pay off debts he had racked up through his drug addiction and that in many cases he has little or no recollection of the homes he either targeted or burgled.

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