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‘ALWAYS WATCHING’: Wanted burglar spotted in Hemel Hempstead supermarket

 Published on: 17th August 2023   |   By: News Bulletin   |   Category: Uncategorized

A wanted criminal involved in two Kings Langley thefts was caught after being spotted by an off-duty police officer in a Hemel Hempstead supermarket.

Mark Butler, 30, of no fixed abode in the Dacorum area, appeared at Hatfield Remand Court yesterday (Wednesday, August 16) where he pleaded guilty to charges of non-dwelling burglary, theft from motor vehicle, attempted theft from motor vehicle, and fraud.

Later the same day, he was sentenced to a total of more than eight months (36 weeks) in prison and ordered to pay compensation to three of the victims.

Following the offences, which occurred in March and May this year, Butler was identified as a suspect and declared wanted by police.

On Monday, August 14, an off-duty police officer was shopping in Aldi on Maylands Avenue in Hemel Hempstead, when he spotted Butler in the store.

He called the police and colleagues from Dacorum’s Operation Scorpion team arrested Butler a short time later.

The burglary and theft from motor vehicle charges relate to two separate incidents at a block of flats in Ovaltine Court, Kings Langley.

In the early hours of Wednesday, March 15, Butler gained entry to the flats’ underground car park and stole two drills, drill bits and loose change from a Nissan van.

On May 20, Butler returned to the underground car park and smashed the window of several vehicles. From a Vauxhall, he stole golf clubs, loose change, and a set of keys. From a Mercedes, he stole a wallet containing bank cards, and a pair of sunglasses. He also smashed a window of a Nissan, but nothing was taken from the vehicle.

The fraud charges relate to the use of bank cards stolen during the theft from motor vehicle offences.

CCTV enquiries confirmed that Butler later used the stolen bank cards to purchase items at Euro Food and Wine in Beechwood Rise, Watford. The bank later reimbursed the victim.

Detective Constable Rob King, from the Three Rivers Local Crime Unit, said: “This case just goes to show that as police officers, we are never off duty. Even when we’re running errands on our rest days, we’re scanning our surroundings for anything – or anyone – that seems suspicious.

“I’d like to publicly thank the off-duty police officer who spotted Butler and called it in, as he had been wanted by us for some time despite numerous arrest enquiries. Thanks to their quick-thinking we now have a positive outcome for our victims, and they can move forward knowing justice has been delivered.

“I hope this sends a strong message to those who commit crime in Hertfordshire – we’re always watching, and you never know when or where we’ll catch up with you.”


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