George Paton was one of three men who stole cars and vans during night-time burglaries before boasting of their exploits on social media.
The 21-year-old, from Bromley, admitted conspiracy to burgle and conspiracy to steal and was sentenced at Canterbury Crown Court to four years and three months’ imprisonment on Thursday 2 December 2021.
His sentence will be served concurrently to a nine-year sentence imposed on him for a robbery, which took place outside of Kent and was investigated by a different police force.
Two other conspirators were sentenced to eight years between them in September 2021.
Paton, Harrison Walker and Jayden Jones-McGilvray burgled eight different homes across Folkestone, Hythe, Dymchurch, Lydd and Camber between 8 and 28 September 2020.
The offences generally took place overnight and would see the offenders enter a home, steal keys, and drive away with the victim’s vehicles. Stolen registration plates would often be used to try and disguise the criminality.
Their offending began to unravel after they stole a Ford Transit and a VW hatchback from an address in Lydd on 28 September. After reporting the incident to police, the victim posted details of the offence on social media and his unoccupied van was found in Denham Way, Camber, that same day.
Officers seized CCTV from the victim’s address and it clearly showed three men loitering around his property. These same three men were seen with the stolen van in Denham Way, before they entered a nearby holiday park.
Attending officers visited the holiday park and were able to obtain a key to the room the offenders were staying in. Inside, they a found a bank card belonging to the owner of the van and the keys for his VW hatchback, which was later found abandoned in Folkestone.
A review of each offender’s mobile phone led to officers uncovering videos of them travelling inside many of the stolen vehicles. These videos were uploaded to a social media platform.
Data from their handsets, and some additional CCTV, also helped place them at the scene of the other offences, which they pled guilty to in court.
Walker and Jones McGilvray were sentenced for the same offences at Canterbury Crown Court in September.
Jones-McGilvray, 22, formerly of Sheridan Road, Richmond, Surrey, was jailed for three years and 10 months and Walker, 20, of Whatley Avenue, Wimbledon, was jailed for four years and two months. Walker was additionally sentenced for handling stolen goods and driving offences committed in January 2021.
Detective Constable Kirsty Gee, from Kent Police’s Chief Constable’s Crime Squad, said: ‘Paton is a habitual thief who thinks nothing of breaking into people’s homes and stealing property.
‘Many of the victims of this case were reliant upon their vehicles for work and that understandably caused an extra layer of stress to the insecurity they would have already felt from having a stranger enter their home.
‘We will never show any tolerance for this offending and will always pursue every reasonable line of enquiry to ensure criminals like Paton are brought to justice.
‘I am pleased he has now been removed from the streets and is unable to harm other innocent people. Kent is undoubtedly safer with him behind bars.’