Police say social media played a key part in bringing this prolific burglar to justice.
A retired Sussex Police officer recognised the suspect as Ellinor, and further reports from members of the public were received following a wanted person appeal issued on 31 July. Despite the appeal for his whereabouts being published, Ellinor continued to offend. On 7 August, he was again spotted by motion sensor cameras attempting to gain entry into a house in North Bersted Street, Bognor Regis. Images of this incident were again circulated on Facebook, following which several people contacted him with the same name – Colin Ellinor.
The 55-year-old, of no fixed address, was spotted by members of the public in Bognor Regis the following day (8 August) and swiftly arrested by police. He was subsequently charged with the burglary in Climping, and with attempted burglary with intent to steal in relation to the incident in Bognor Regis.
At Lewes Crown Court on Wednesday (6 September), Ellinor pleaded guilty to both offences and was sentenced to three years’ imprisonment for each offence, to run concurrently. Two separate offences of burglary – in Church Lane, Bognor Regis on 30 July and in Bersted Street, Bognor Regis on 3 August – were also taken into account on sentencing.
Detective Constable Jon Woolley, of the West Sussex Community Investigation Team, said: “Social media played a key role in bringing this prolific burglar to justice. He was initially recognised by a retired police officer following the incident in Climping, and after further CCTV images of the attempted burglary in North Bersted Street, Bognor Regis were circulated, we received several more calls from members of the public who nominated the same suspect. “CCTV and motion sensor cameras are becoming more affordable and more widely available, and in these cases they provided vital evidence which led to Ellinor’s conviction. “The incidents have left the victims understandably distressed, and I hope it gives them peace of mind that this serial offender is now behind bars.”