Thief targeted charity shops before Christmas

A thief who spent the weeks prior to Christmas stealing cash from charity shops across Sussex and Hampshire has been jailed.

Forty three-year-old Christopher Paul Rees stole more than £1000 from charity shops and local businesses in a spate of burglaries in Petersfield, Portsmouth and Seaford last year.

Rees, of no fixed abode, appeared at Portsmouth Crown Court on Monday December 2 where he pleaded guilty to six counts of burglary.

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He has been sentenced to three years and nine months in prison.

Christopher Paul Rees, 43, of no fixed abode, appeared at Portsmouth Crown Court yesterday (Monday 20 December) where he pleaded guilty to six counts of burglary.

The court heard how the six offences took place at five charity shops and one hairdressing salon between December 11 and December 19 last year:

Overnight between December 11 and December 12 a St Winifreds Hospice Charity Shop in Seaford, Sussex, was broken into and £253 in cash was taken.

Overnight between December 16 and December 17 2020 the Barnados Charity Shop and the British Heart Foundation Charity Shop on High Street, Cosham, were broken into. Nothing was taken in either incident.

On the same evening, the Headway Brain Injury Charity Shop on High Street, Cosham, was broken into and £500 in cash was taken.

Overnight between December 18 and December 19 the Age UK Charity Shop on Lavant Street, Petersfield, was broken into and £53 in cash was taken. On the same evening, Lisa Edwards Hairdressing on High Street, Petersfield, was broken into and £400 in cash was taken.

Officers conducted a thorough investigation and Rees was linked to all six offences via mobile phone, CCTV and forensic evidence.

PC Dave Rowe, who led the investigation, said: “Any crime of burglary is despicable and has a lasting and immeasurable impact on its victims, however to target charity shops and local businesses is particularly abhorrent.

“Rees committed his crimes when Hampshire, and indeed the whole country, was facing uncertainty around changing Covid-19 restrictions under the Tier system and his offending added greater stress to an already incredibly difficult time for the businesses he targeted.

“We are pleased that he will now face the consequences of his actions and hope that this sentence sends a clear message that crimes of this nature will not be tolerated. We take crimes like this very seriously and will investigate all available lines of enquiry to identify those responsible and bring them to justice.”