A PROLIFIC burglar, who stole thousands of pounds of jewellery from families across Basildon during a 14-year crime spree, has dodged jail.

Dean Hosford, 35, of Briscoe Road, Basildon, was instead handed a community order, with three years supervision, after admitting stealing £18,000 of jewellery from homes across town between 2000 and 2014.

One of his victims, who attended court, was left visibly shaken and upset by the sentence, and told the Echo she felt “completely let down” by the criminal justice system.

Hosford told the court he was ashamed by the damage he had caused his victims and said he now wanted to get off heroin and crack cocaine for the sake of his six-year-old daughter.

Judge John Lodge acknowledged Hosford had been in and out of jail for a number of years, and said he was willing to give him the chance to get clean in the hope he would stop committing crimes.

He told Hosford he would be personally monitoring his progress and said how he would face “a long time in prison” if he breached any of his requirements.

He said: “You may have conned the police in to believing youwant to change, you may have conned your barrister, but you cannot con me.

“Mr Hosford, I will be watching you closely.”

Hosford admitted two break-ins when he appeared at Basildon Crown in June.

He also asked for 15 others to be taken in to consideration – meaning he admitted to carrying out burglaries the police had been unable to solve.

The first burglary he pleaded guilty to was on April 5, in Collingwood Road, Vange.

Victims Patricia and David Bell arrived home to find Hosford had smashed their kitchen window, clambered in and then searched the house.

Hosford stole jewellery belonging to Patricia’s mother and her engagement ring.

He also left his blood smeared across the window.

The second burglary happened just a few streets away in Maplin Gardens, on April 13.

The victim returned home to find her key would not fit in the front door and her dog was running around in the street.

She went round the back of her property and found Hosford had broken in through her back door and raided her home, leaving her clothes and belongings strewn across the floor.

He stole jewellery valued at between £7,000 and £9,000.

Police later found a cigarette end at the back door which DNA experts traced to Hosford. Hosford was picked up by police as he was walking through Basildon in the early hours of May 5.

In mitigation, Hosford’s lawyer, Mark Savage said: “The victim impact statements have had a profound impact on Mr Hosford and he is appalled by his actions.

“His time on remand has not been wasted. He decided to cooperatewith the police because he wants to give closure to his victims.

He also has a six-year-old daughter who needs a good role model in her life.

“He does not have the words, and he does not know what to say to his victims.”

Hosford was handed a threeyear community order with three years supervision and a six-month drug rehabilitation requirement.

We've been failed by the justice system

A COUPLE have been left feeling
“completely let down” after the
man who raided their home
walked free from court.
Patricia Bell, 63, and her
husband, David, 67, lost
jewellery which had belonged to
Mrs Bell’s mother, as well as an
engagement ring.
The couple had attended each
of Hosford’s hearings in a bid to
see justice being done.
Mrs Bell was visibly upset
after the hearing and said she
was devastated she would not
be able to hand the sentimental
items down to her own children.
Mrs Bell said: “We were left
feeling unsafe in our own home.
“We had been at the theatre in
Southend with our daughter on
the night he broke in. It had been
our second evening out of the
“We came home and he had
used a big ornament that it
usually takes two of us to move
to smash the kitchen window.
“We found his blood there, it
was just awful.
“He took my mother’s
jewellery and my engagement
ring, family items I had wanted
to pass on to my own children.
“I feel really let down.
“He said he wanted to change,
well he has been committing
burglaries for 14 years, he had
plenty of time to change his life
and get himself a job.
“We were told there was no
way he would avoid jail. But he
has. At least if he was in jail he
would not be breaking in to
people’s homes.”