Bromley burglar put away for 12 years as ‘ruthless’ regime is ended by fingerprint match

A serial burglar has been jailed for 12 years after police identified him through fingerprints left on a wine box he discarded while fleeing a scene.

Paul Debenham, 30, of no fixed address, was sentenced at Croydon Crown Court on Monday for a linked series of aggravated burglaries in the Orpington area.

Debenham targeted the elderly – on two occasions he broke into homes while the residents were inside.

The first time, on Tuesday, October 31, last year, Debenham forced his way into a house in Spur Road, wielding a handgun at the occupant, a 78-year-old man, and pushed a 76-year-old woman to the floor before stealing their car.

He fled the scene in the stolen car and, a few days later, offended again. On Thursday, November 2, Debenham used a brick to smash a glass panel in the back door of a 96-year-old woman’s property in Blenheim Road, Orpington.

Debenham rushed in and started to threaten the woman with a hammer, demanding she hand over car keys and jewellery.

While inside, Debenham was caught on an internal CCTV camera.

The footage clearly showed him rummaging around the property – evidence which was crucial to the police investigation.

Investigating officer PC Rob Melton, from the burglary investigation team at Bromley Police Station, said: “Debenham was a ruthless criminal who committed crime to fund his lifestyle. He showed no remorse for the long-lasting impact these offences would have on his victims.

Debenham’s fingerprints were found on this discarded box (Picture: The Met)

“Debenham’s arrest and the substantial evidence against him was the result of a combined effort by a number of local police units. He will now serve a substantial sentence, which will protect the public from his despicable crimes.”

Alongside the two aggravated burglaries, Debenham was also charged with four commercial burglaries, seven residential burglaries, theft of a motor vehicle and vehicle interference.

With a total of 15 offences linked to him, Debenham was identified through extensive CCTV enquiries after footage was obtained from a number of residential and retail properties. He left a box containing a bottle of wine at the scene in Spur Road, from which his fingerprints were recovered.

Pictured top: Paul Debenham (Picture: The Met)

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