In the Media

'I robbed too many homes to remember'

PUBLISHED October 30, 2006

A man dubbed Britain's most prolific burglar after he was suspected of thousands of break-ins was jailed for seven years yesterday.

Norman Sinclair, 46, is thought to have stolen up to ?5 million worth of gems, credit cards and cash in a nine-year crime wave.

Sinclair originally asked for 2,646 burglaries to be taken into account but later withdrew his admission simply because he could not remember the details of all his offences.

He was said to have committed crimes across every borough of London from Ealing to Harrow, Brent, Barnet, Enfield, Camden, Havering, Sutton, Merton, Kingston, Richmond, Hounslow and Hillingdon.

Before he was finally caught, Sinclair, from Jamaica, was listed on the Scotland Yard website as one of its most wanted criminals.

The crack addict estimated he once spent up to ?3,000 in a day on the drug and used it to pay prostitutes.

Sinclair, who is said to have since "found God", also donated some of his ill-gotten gains to charity, with one donation going to Homerton Hospital.

He even contacted some of his victims to tell them which pawn shops were holding items of sentimental value.

Harrow Crown Court heard that he had taught himself the weaknesses of home security systems and dressed to blend into the area he was targeting. He targeted groups he thought would have more valuable small items ? including Jewish and Asian communities.

The burglar was finally caught trying to leave the country on a false passport after his picture featured on the BBC's Crimewatch.

Sinclair pleaded guilty to only 13 counts of burglary, committed between December 1997 and January this year.

Judge Nic Madge told him that, by refusing to ask for the matters to be taken into account, he faces extra jail terms if further prosecutions are pursued.