A man who burgled five homes across Surrey and Sussex within a 24-hour period has been jailed.
Adam Prendergast, 33, of no fixed address, was already serving a jail sentence for previous burglaries when he was found to be behind a spate of break-ins from March, 2022.
Police in Surrey and Sussex received reports of burglaries at two properties in Hailsham and one each in Pevensey Bay, East Grinstead and Reigate on Tuesday, March 29.
Many of the victims were elderly people and each of the homes had been entered through a smashed window or glass door.
An investigation discovered a black BMW was present at one of the scenes, waiting nearby to watch the house and only approach when the residents had left.
Doorbell footage also showed a break-in taking place, with a man later identified as Prendergast smashing through a window and entering the property.
The BMW was traced using police cameras across both counties and tracked moving between all of the reported burglary scenes.
It was also found to be using false registration plates.
Further investigation discovered Prendergast had used four different false registration plates on the same vehicle, including for burglaries on March 30 in West Mercia, for which he is awaiting sentence.
After being identified as the perpetrator of the Surrey and Sussex burglaries, Prendergast was charged with five counts of burglary and one count of fraudulently using a registration plate.
He subsequently pleaded guilty and, at Lewes Crown Court on Tuesday, August 30, was jailed for six years.
PC Ciaran Gaymer said: “Adam Prendergast was a prolific, committed burglar who has targeted innocent and vulnerable people across the South East.
“Burglary is a hugely invasive crime that causes emotional and financial harm to victims, whose personal spaces are violated and sentimental and valuable possessions taken.
“This was a complex investigation in partnership with our colleagues in Surrey Police that has brought a serial offender to justice.
“As a police force, we will continue to take any reports of burglary extremely seriously. Please report any incidents to police online, via 101 or by calling 999 in an emergency.”