Blackpool burglar snared by police and an iPhone app

A prolific burglar was caught by a sharp thinking police officer using an app on a stolen iPhone.

By The Newsroom
Wednesday, 18th March 2015, 2:00 pm

Thanks to the hi-tech GPS app a haul of stolen property, including the phone, was discovered at Mark Williams’ address.

Williams was given three years jail for two burglaries by a judge who heard that one of the victims – a minister – had written a letter to him to express forgiveness.

Williams, 46, formerly of Burlington Road, Blackpool had admitted the two burglaries at Preston Crown Court.

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The first, last November, was at the minister’s address on Primrose Avenue, South Shore.

David Clarke, prosecuting, said the occupant returned home less than an hour and a half after going out one evening and discovered a window in his back door had been smashed.

A lap top and video camera had both been stolen. A hammer, which didn’t belong to him, was found in the back garden.

The following day Williams struck at an address on Ferndale Avenue, Marton.

A woman returned home to discover that property including an iPhone 5 and iPad Mini, plus two fake Rolex watches had been taken.

Mr Clarke told the court “A very sharp thinking officer at the location of the second burglary thought the iPhone might have GPS and an app to ‘track my phone’.

“The officer activated it and even had the know-how to alert colleagues as to where a reception was received.

“Officers went to Burlington Road, Blackpool where it was located. Police were already aware that the defendant lived there. At the rear of a garage, at the back of the address, were two bags and almost all of the stolen items”.

Williams had numerous offences of burglary on his record. In 2012 he was given a four years term.

John Woodward, defending, said in many ways Williams was a broken man, riddled by drug addiction.

“It is something he simply can’t rid himself of. He lost his twin brother at the age if 13 and it is something he simply can’t forget.

“Whenever he comes out of custody he feels the whole world is against him. He takes solace in drugs and it is a downward spiral from there. He doesn’t know how to break that cycle”.

The judge, Recorder Bob Crawford, told Williams “You are a prolific burglar. You have burgled people’s houses for many years. When people have their homes burgled that has a shattering effect on their lives.

“You must learn to understand that”.