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Serial burglar who terrorised victims in Wisbech jailed for 16 years

A man who terrified victims during a spate of burglaries has been jailed for 16 years.

William Hughes, 27, of New Drove, Wisbech, targeted vulnerable and elderly residents during his spree in the town.

Hughes threatened some of his victims with weapons and knocked two of them to the floor before raiding their homes.

On December 27 2022 at about 11pm, Hughes broke into an address in Cannon Street as the victims slept.

Internal CCTV footage showed Hughes peering through the front door and creeping into the living room before stealing a TV and remote control.

In Artillery Street on New Year’s Eve at about 9.45pm, the victim stood outside her home to watch the fireworks and as Hughes - who was known to her - walked past, he stopped to join her.

As she went upstairs to get a coat, she left the front door open and when she returned, saw Hughes had gone into the living room and shouted at him to get out.

CCTV footage captured Hughes leaving, but then walking round the back and going through another door and again, leaving with a TV.

Four days later, a victim in St Paul’s Close woke up to the sound of someone knocking on his back door and hearing a voice saying: “police – open up, open up”.

Believing it to be true, the victim opened the door which then saw Hughes barge through, knocking the victim to the floor.

Hughes then pinned him down and while waving a knife above his face, demanded money before stealing £10 cash and a bank card from the victim’s wallet, as well as two mobile phones.

Later that afternoon, Hughes broke into a home in Weasenham Lane and, unbeknown to the victim who had been watching TV, stole his bank card and £20 cash.

However, at about 10pm, Hughes returned and again, broke into the victim’s address.

Hughes pushed the victim to the ground, kicked him, and held his gloved hand over the victim’s face before stealing his laptop and a phone.

After Hughes left, the terrified victim ran to his neighbour for help and to call the police.

And on January 23 in Queens Road about 8.30pm, Hughes appeared in the hallway of an elderly man’s home, threatening him with a hammer demanding money.

Hughes fled the scene when he realised someone else was in the property.

The following day officers arrested Hughes after finding him hiding under the bed covers at an address in Cannon Street.

At Peterborough Crown Court on Wednesday, (7) Hughes pleaded guilty to three counts of aggravated burglary, three counts of burglary, fraud by false representation, and taking a motor vehicle without the owner’s consent.

DC Pete Wise, who investigated, said: “Hughes caused a significant level of worry and fear in the Wisbech area as he targeted homes, as well as the charity shop which in itself is despicable.

“I welcome the sentence and I hope it will give the victims some degree of comfort.

“Tackling burglary is one of our priorities. We are working hard every day to bring offenders before the courts."

For advice on how to stay safe and protect your home from crime, please visit the force’s dedicated burglar pages on the website.

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