A BURGLAR has been jailed for three years after taking a £200,000 watch collection while raiding houses to feed his drug habit.
Marc Lelli broke into three homes in Bloxham and Adderbury last year and helped himself to the jewellery, Oxford Crown Court heard on Tuesday.
Accomplice Stuart Brown was also jailed for eight months after admitting to allowing Lelli, 33, to store the stolen goods at his home.
Prosecutor Henry James said when police searched 36-year-old Brown’s home they found an “Aladdin’s cave” of stolen items.
He said Lelli, of Sycamore Terrace, Bloxham, smashed a window to get inside a house in Hogg End, Bloxham, between November 29 and December 2 and stole jewellery including watches belonging to the victim’s late husband.
Lelli then stole 12m of lead and a crowbar from a house in Adderbury before stealing the watch collection and other valuables from another house in Berry Hill Road between December 3 and 4, the court heard.
He added: “The defendant found more than he expected to find.”
Lelli and Brown, of Kensington Close, Kings Sutton, then tried to sell some Tiffany cufflinks at a Banbury jewellery store. But the owner showed CCTV footage to the police and the pair were identified.
The court heard police found almost all of the stolen items at Brown’s address after they arrested the pair. A footprint from one of the burglaries was also matched to Lelli’s shoe.
Lelli admitted three burglaries, while Brown admitted two counts of receiving stolen goods.
The court also heard a victim impact statement from watch collector William Aylward, 62, who said his family no longer felt secure in their home.
It added: “I have spent hours and days trying to reassure the family they will be safe.”
Terence Woods, defending Lelli, said his client had been battling heroin addiction for a decade and had relapsed before the burglaries when his partner left him and he lost his job. He said he had admitted the crimes and wanted to “wipe the slate clean”.
Tom Stevens, defending Brown, had pushed for a suspended sentence. He said: “He clearly wants to put the life of crime behind him.”
But recorder Simon Blackford, sentencing, said the burglar had “sullied” the homes of the victims and by handling the stolen goods Brown had supported that.
He said: “It is clear the victims of these burglaries suffered very substantial losses.
“Thankfully a great deal of the jewellery and other items were recovered.”