Commuting criminal who raided homes in Barnham, Bognor and Chichester jailed for five years

Simon Knights dressed smartly and used the trains to get around and commit crimes. Picture supplied by Sussex Police
Simon Knights dressed smartly and used the trains to get around and commit crimes. Picture supplied by Sussex Police

A CAREER burglar who targeted properties in the Barnham, Bognor Regis and Chichester area has been sent back to jail.

Simon Knights, 39, burgled four homes in Barnham in one day in June last year, stealing jewellery, laptops and cash.

Knights, said to have ‘the most appalling record of criminality’, pleaded guilty to 12 counts of burglary and two counts of attempted burglary at Chichester Crown Court on Monday. He was jailed for five years and six months.

The court heard he carried out his latest spree between June 2014 and April 2015 - starting just three months after being released from prison.

On June 16, 2014, he burgled four properties in Barnham - two in Downview Road, one in Barnham Road and another in Elm Grove. He also tried to break into another Barnham Road home on that day.

He burgled a home in Ancton Lane, Bognor, and tried to raid a property in Oving Road, Chichester, but was disturbed by a workman and fled.

He took personal jewellery, laptops, trophies and cash, none of which has been recovered.

The court heard that he dressed smartly and used trains to travel to various locations around the area to commit crimes.

CCTV from railway stations placed him in the areas at the time of the crimes, while witness descriptions and DNA from blood he left at other homes he visited enabled police to link him to all the break-ins.

Detective constable Philippa Hannard, from Sussex Police’s priority crime team, said afterwards: “Knights committed burglaries across the south east, leaving a trail of damage and upset for his victims as he went.

“We pursued Knights for many months, building up a detailed case that tied him to more than a dozen burglaries before he was finally arrested.”

Knights, of Kirkley Cliff Road, Lowestoft, Suffolk, also burgled homes in Burgess Hill, Southwick, Petersfield, Margate, Orpington and Guildford over 12 months.

The court heard that since 1999, Knights had been convicted of 57 offences, including 19 burglaries.

Passing a sentence of five years and six months in prison, judge Christine Henson QC said: “You are 39 years of age and you have the most appalling record of criminality.

She added: “From a young age you have been a predatory burglar, preying on your fellow citizens and returning to your trade as a professional burglar almost as soon as your prison sentence had finished.”

Knights was told he would serve half his sentence in jail and the rest on licence.

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