November 17, 2010 10.08 am This story is over 158 months old

Prolific burglar shares tips from prison

Tough life: Burglar says he was relieved to be caught by police, and now shares anti-burglary tips.

A man who is now jailed for six years after admitting to 203 burglaries, spoke from prison sharing burglary prevention tips.

Mark Marriott (43), who was sentenced at Lincoln Crown Court Monday, started using heroin as a teenager and continued to use it as a grandfather.

Marriott admitted to 69 burglaries in Lincolnshire, 49 in the greater Lincoln area, and claims to have committed burglary to feed his 20-year heroin addiction.

He committed his first burglary at the age of 14 and since then has appeared in court on 18 separate occasions for different offences.

Speaking from prison, Marriott said: “I hate the way I live.

“The gear [heroin] has ruined my life and I was pretty relieved when the police caught me. I do feel genuine remorse for my victims.”

Lincolnshire Police DCI Shaun West said: “Marriott was extremely co-operative after our officers caught him.

“That co-operation was recognised by the judge, despite him quite rightly passing a very significant sentence for so many offences.”

Anti-burglary advice from a convict

“I have some advice that may stop others becoming victims of burglary. I was very careful in the way I selected the properties I wanted to burgle,” Marriott said.

“I would pick a village pretty much at random and then look for a focal point like a church or a village hall to park up at. This would be my navigation point for when I returned at night.

“I would then go about selecting properties. I targeted bungalows as it is easier to establish that no one is in as you can generally look into all of the rooms.

“Then a really big thing for me was mail in the doorway – it’s such a giveaway that someone is on holiday.

“After that it was about careful checking of the property on different days at different times on a number of occasions to satisfy myself that people were actually away.

“That means revisiting over a number of days and knocking on doors and tapping on windows. There are some properties that I would just never touch.

“If there was a “Beware of the Dog” sign or any pictures of dogs visible then for me it was just not worth the risk.

“And any property with a burglar alarm, even if I thought it was a dummy; again it’s just not worth the risk when there are so many without them. I would also check for warmth coming from a property and look at the lighting over a number of days.

“Some people think just leaving a couple of lights on will do, but actually, if a light was on at midday on Tuesday and still on when I checked again at 4am on Thursday – it’s more of a sign that no one is there.

“Buy timer switches so the lights go on and off at natural times.

“I stole jewellery, cash and bank cards and I was able to withdraw cash using some of those cards because so many people have pin numbers hidden somewhere. It doesn’t matter where you hide it; any four digit number is going to be a pin number.

“Because I was so careful to make sure people were away, I would spend a long time searching houses – I knew no one was coming back.

“This allowed me to carefully look through all draws and at bits of scrap paper lying around the place. There’s normally a pin number somewhere.

“The best thing to do is disguise it. Make up a fake mobile phone number with the correct number of digits and then hide your four digit pin within the number – that way the burglar will just pass over it.”

Source: Lincolnshire Police