1st Jul, 2022

Professional burglar who netted property worth £500,000 had just £750 to his name when caught

A PROFESSIONAL burglar stole cars and other property worth a total of more than £500,000 during a five-month crime spree.

But Dale Melia, who is serving a prison sentence of six-and-a-half years for his offences, had just £750 to his name when he was caught, a judge has heard.

The 25-year-old, of Grantham Street, Hillfields, Coventry, had been jailed in May last year after pleading guilty at Warwick Crown Court to six charges of burglary.

He had also admitted a further burglary, five charges of stealing high-value cars from outside the burgled properties, and asked for a number of other offences to be considered.

But when he was jailed, a hearing under the Proceeds of Crime Act was adjourned for an investigation to be carried out into his finances.

And at the resumed hearing Judge Anthony Potter was told that Melia’s benefit from his crimes came to a total of £505,177.

But his only available asset was the £750 in cash seized from him by the police when he was arrested – so Judge Potter ordered that amount to be confiscated as the proceeds of crime.

The court had previously heard Melia’s first offence was in November 2018 when he burgled a house in Tamworth, from where he stole property including a watch and the keys to a Mercedes CLA which he then stole.

Later that month Melia broke into a house in Acacia Road, Leamington, with intent to steal, but left empty-handed.

Three days later he entered someone’s home in Calpurnia Avenue, on Warwick Gates, and escaped with cash, jewellery and electronic devices.

In December he switched his attention to the north of the county where he burgled an address in Bedworth, and stole a Rolex watch and the key to a BMW which he also stole.

The following month Melia crossed the border into Leicestershire and broke into a house in Hinckley, before driving off in the owner’s Vauxhall VXR car.

Then in February he targeted a house in Gold Avenue, Rugby, from where he took the key to a BMW 520 which he then stole from outside.

The final offence on the indictment was committed in March when he broke into another house in Leicsestershire, where he stole a watch and other property including the key to another BMW which he then stole.

Following his arrest, Melia was remanded in custody and asked to see the police about a number of other offences which he admitted over a two-day period.

And he asked for those offences, which included further burglaries in Leamington, Warwick, Hatton, Southam, Rugby, Kenilworth and Nuneaton, as well as associated car thefts, to be taken into consideration.

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