Burglar drove 300 miles to loot homes in Devon

A prolific burglar ransacked homes in Dawlish and Teignmouth before driving 300 miles back home to North Wales. Ian Nash broke into four homes and stole thousands of pounds worth of jewelry and family heirlooms.

He was caught after leaving a facemask with traces of his DNA at the scene of a home invasion. Police also found the same signature footprint from his Hugo Boss boots.

Nash, a married family man from Rhyl, said he was desperate for money after Covid left him out of work and with mounting bills. He said he was sorry he resorted to stealing.

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The defendant of Glandwr Crescent. admitted to four burglaries and was sentenced to four years in prison at the Exeter Crown Court. Three of the burglaries took place in Devon and one at his home in Wales.

Prosecutor Ms Felicity Payne said the first break-in occurred on September 20, 2020 at Underwood Close in Dawlish. A couple returned to their home to find that a rear window had been forced. They found that drawers and cabinets had been wiped out and objects thrown over rooms and the bed.

Jewellery, watches and designer items worth around £4,000 were stolen and never recovered.

The victims said in a statement that they were “shocked and devastated” and could not understand why someone had raided their home and left them in fear of being there alone.

The second break-in occurred on the same day at Sunnylands Way in Dawlish. The elderly owner of the house had moved into a care home and the son was clearing out the property. Around 10 p.m., security cameras picked up a man walking around the empty property with a flashlight. The burglar noticed the camera and pulled it off the wall. There is no evidence that anything was stolen.

The third burglary took place around midnight at a vacant building in Boyds Drive Teignmouth. Nothing was taken.

Footprints at the scene of each break-in matched Hugo Boss boots found at Nash’s home when police arrested him. Clothing that matched those on CCTV and DNA on a facemask found in the first burglary belonged to Nash.

Police checked highway cameras and found a black Audi registered in the name of his partner who drove off the M5 on September 20 and returned north two days later.

On November 29, a couple returned to their four-bedroom house in Rhyl. Nash had broken in and searched the property, leaving drawers and cabinets open, and stuff lying everywhere.

He took about £4,000 worth of jewellery, including items of sentimental value and a ring worn by an uncle in World War II. Some of the items were later recovered, but the owners said they felt their lives had been “violated” and that they were extremely shocked by what had happened.

Nash has a long list of previous convictions dating back to the 1980s. He has had previous burglaries, most recently in 2014 and 2018.

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Garth Richardson, on the defensive, said there had been periods in his life when he had a permanent contract and at one point had a catering business. But he had a history of drug abuse and had reverted to old habits when he was under financial pressure.

“I’m very sorry,” Nash told the court.

Judge Timothy Rose said: “There was theft of a significant amount of property and looting of the properties in question. The violations are compounded by your relevant previous convictions.

“The fact is, you continued to steal even when you were being investigated by the police for the first three burglaries.”

Nash will spend half of his four years indoors and the rest under surveillance.

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