A homeless burglar whose crime spree spanned two counties has been jailed for five years - after a police officer spotted him acting suspciously.
Raul Bobelica, 27, of no fixed address was sentenced for six burglaries in Buckinghamshire and Hertfordshire.
The burglaries all took place in July last year and Bobelica took electrical equipment and jewellery from addresses in Stoke Hammond, Flamstead, Dagnall, Redbourn and Weston Turville.
Bobelica was arrested in the same month by PC Brian Evans from the Hemel Hempstead Safer Neighbourhood Team, who was on proactive patrol in Flamstead and Markyate.
PC Evans knew there had been a series of burglaries in the area and was on high alert.
So when he saw a car pulled up in Old Watling Street and a man walking down the drive of one of the properties, he stopped and questioned him.
The man claimed he had broken down and was getting assistance from a resident, however upon checking PC Evans found that no one was in the property.
During this time he noticed Bobelica acting suspiciously and saw him wandering into adjacent scrubland. PC Evans asked for his details and it was found the man was wanted in connection with a burglary in Hemel Hempstead.
He was arrested and a search of the scrubland identified a laptop which was found to have been stolen from a burglary in Flamstead just an hour before.
Bobelica was found guilty at St Albans Crown Court and was sentenced to five years in prison.
David Lloyd, police and crime commissioner for Hertfordshire, said: “This is a superb example of local policing at its best and a clear demonstration of why I believe it is the right way to police Hertfordshire.
“I commend PC Evans for his actions which have ultimately led to a wanted criminal, who was actively targeting residents in our county, being given a substantial prison sentence.”
Detective Constable Steve Johnson investigated the case.
He said: “I hope knowing that the man who burgled their homes has faced justice and will be spending some years in prison will bring some comfort to the victims.
“I would also like to make it clear to other offenders that we will do all we can, including working with colleagues across borders, to track down offenders and bring them before the courts.”
Safer Neighbourhood Inspector for Dacorum, George Holland said: “PC Evans is a conscientious officer, he’s dedicated to tackling crimes that have a real impact on the community and his suspicions that day definitely paid off and led to this significant arrest.”