Jailed: Burglar who blackmailed victim for return of stolen watch
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A burglar who stole up to £20,000 worth of jewellery and then blackmailed his victim for the return of some of the haul has been jailed.
Basildon Crown Court heard how Jay Waite, of Woodshire Road, Dagenham, had broken into a home in Hutton, near Brentwood, on April 23 this year.
The 25-year-old stole jewellery, which was estimated to be worth between £11,000 and £20,000, and £150 worth of foreign currency from an acquaintance.
After the burglary, he stated that a friend of his had purchased some of the stolen pieces of jewellery, which had sentimental value, and asked the victim to transfer £500 to his friend in exchange for an Omega watch.
The woman reported Waite's approach to the police and transferred some money to the 'friend' - which turned out to be Waite using a different phone number.
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He was arrested after sending a text threatening the safety of the victim's family. Officers found the watch hidden inside a DVD case.
Waite pleaded guilty to two counts of burglary and one count of blackmail.
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Last week, he was jailed for 56 months for blackmail and 36 months for burglary, to run concurrently.
PC Jonathan Stephenson said: "This was a particularly upsetting case, and has left the victim feeling unsafe in her own home.
"Not only did Waite violate her privacy by stealing her things, but he then used sentimental items as a bargaining tool, before selling some irreplaceable jewellery at a pawnbrokers for his own monetary gain. Thankfully, we were able to get this back."
He added: "His behaviour was completely unacceptable and I'm glad he had the decency to plead guilty, sparing the victim the further stress of a trial.
"I hope his time behind bars gives him time to reflect on his behaviour, and that this sentence can give the victim some peace and a sense of safety again."
A 20-year-old man from Dagenham who was arrested on suspicion of blackmail on the same day as Waite was released without charge.