‘Career criminal’ jailed after Harpenden burglaries

Scales of Justice.

Scales of Justice. - Credit: Archant

A SPATE of burglaries in Harpenden have resulted in a career criminal being jailed for 40 months on Friday.

Dennis Skiller broke into five homes over three days and twice drove off with the owners’ cars.

Prosecutor Wayne Cleaver told St Albans Crown Court that the break-ins took place while the owners were out.

“Access was gained via the rear of the properties. The doors or rear windows were either broken or forced open. Rooms were entered and untidy searches took place. Some rooms were comprehensively turned over.”

Items taken in the burglaries included jewellery, iPods, iPhones and other personal items.

Skiller burgled a house in Fairmead Avenue, taking jewellery and other personal property before driving off in the family’s Ford Fiesta.

In Park Mount he went back and stole a VW Golf having broken and taken items of a sentimental value. The victim at that house was four and a half months’ pregnant and had just lost her father.

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Two children, aged four and six, had been unable to sleep in their bedrooms after their home had been burgled, the court heard.

Skiller, 32, of Eagle Close, Leighton Buzzard, pleaded guilty to five counts of burglary and two counts of theft. He asked for 51 cases to be taken into consideration which took place in Harpenden, Berkhamsted, Tring and Buckinghamshire.

He had 27 previous convictions for 70 offences, 18 of which were for burglary.

Avril Stone, defending, said that by his own admission Skiller was a “career criminal.”

She said he wanted to overhaul his lifestyle and had admitted the other offences, which went back 10 years, to wipe the slate clean.

He had a three-and-a-half year old child and was supported by his partner and mother, she said. Ms Stone said Skiller was remorseful and had written letters of apology to his victims.

But jailing him, Recorder Justin Rouse, said: “Burgling someone’s home is a violation.

“You caused untold distress, loss and damage to many households.”