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Thief jailed thanks to vigilant member of the public

Alert message sent 17/12/2019 11:32:00

Information sent on behalf of Sussex Police


A vigilant member of the public has helped to secure the conviction of a man caught stealing from cars.

In the early hours of 5 September, a resident in Willowbed Walk, Hastings, was alerted by a security light and spotted an unknown man entering his neighbour’s car.

He dialled 999, and officers located a man matching the description of the suspect nearby shortly afterwards. He was identified as Mark Lewis, 39, of no fixed address.

Lewis was found in possession of items including cash, two torches, a bank card in someone else’s name and a quantity of ammunition.

He was subsequently arrested and charged with theft by finding, going equipped for theft, possession of ammunition without a certificate and two counts of vehicle interference.
At Brighton Magistrates’ Court on Friday 12 December, Lewis was sentenced to eight weeks’ imprisonment and ordered to pay costs of £85. Magistrates took the seriousness of the offences and his recent history of offending into account during sentencing.

Julie Maley, of the Hastings Investigations Team, said: “Motorists are reminded to keep the doors of the vehicles locked when unattended, and to keep belongings – especially expensive items such as sunglasses – out of sight.
Preferably, do not keep any valuables in your vehicle at all.

“Without a resident acting on their suspicions and reporting this to us, we would not have caught Lewis and he may have continued his criminal activities, rather than spending the next few weeks in prison.
“Sussex Police needs the help of the public to catch criminals, and people are urged to report incidents such as this to us immediately, as sometimes there are no other lines of enquiry for us to investigate.”

If you witness a crime in action, call 999.
Or, if you have information which could assist us in an investigation please call us on 101.


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Seen something suspicious or have information about a crime or incident? Please contact us online, email us at or call 101.

Alternatively you can contact the independent charity Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111, or online at
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Lee Melbourne (Police, Prevention Support & Engagement Officer, Sussex)

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