A pair of burglars who targeted 15 schools across west London and further afield, stealing equipment worth more than £180,000, have been jailed for a total of nearly eight years.
Austin Julie, of Blyth Road, Walthamstow, and Lee Hall, of Buttermere Close, Leyton, both admitted burglary and conspiracy to burgle 15 schools.
Julie, 36, was sentenced at Kingston Crown Court last Friday (July 11) to three-and-a-half-years behind bars, while Hall, 34, was handed a 50-month prison spell.
Their crimes came to light after they forced their way in through a window at Hounslow Heath Junior School, in Cambridge Road, Hounslow, on February 16 last year and stole 75 laptops.
CCTV showed the men entering a classroom and covering the cameras with sticky tape before making their escape.
Officers in the Serious Acquisitive Crime Unit at Hounslow police station spent a year investigating similar crimes at schools and colleges across London and the Home Counties, during which they identified Hall and Julie as possible suspects.
The duo's method was to target students' laptops, clearing rooms as quickly as possible before making their escape. CCTV from several of the burgled schools showed them trying to hide their faces with clothing and covering the cameras with sticky tape.
On May 30 last year, both men were arrested and their homes were searched but none of the stolen property was ever recovered.
They both admitted one count of burglary and another of conspiracy to burgle 15 schools and colleges between December 2011 and May 2013, from which laptops, Apple desktops and other electrical goods were among their loot.
Detective Inspector Neil John, formerly of Hounslow CID, said: "These two defendants had little regard for students of all ages, taking away essential equipment from schools and colleges alike at the most inappropriate of times.
"All of the burglaries were carefully thought out and executed, causing an immeasurable amount of disruption and upset. It is reassuring to know that the court has today taken into account the damage these two have caused and has sentenced them accordingly."
Where Hall and Julie struck
- Brentside High School, Hanwell (twice)
- Bromley College of Higher Education
- John Ruskin Sixth Form College, Croydon
- Newman Catholic College, Harlesden
- Ealing and West London College
- Camden School for Girls
- Hounslow Heath Junior School (twice)
- Mayfield Primary School, Hanwell
- Brentside High School, Hanwell
- Feltham Community College
- Bishop Justus C of E School, Bromley
- St Gregory’s RC High School, Harrow
- Highbury Fields School
- Whitefield School, Brent Cross
- Stanmore College
- Tolworth Girls' School, Surbiton