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Nelson Ripley, of West Malling, jailed after burgling Swanley home

A mother returned home with one of her children to find burglars dragging out a heavy safe containing valuable jewellery, a court heard.

The raiders were planning to use her husband Kultar Singh Vagha’s transit van to take the safe away and break into it.

But they fled empty-handed having been disturbed by Mr Vagha’s wife Rajinder Kaur, Maidstone Crown Court was told.

Nelson Ripley has been jailed
Nelson Ripley has been jailed

Blood left on the safe led police to former talented boxer Nelson Ripley and he was arrested soon afterwards.

The mother had left her luxury home in London Road, Swanley, on March 3 this year to pick up her daughter.

About 40 minutes later she received a phone call telling her the alarm had been activated.

She rushed back to see a car parked outside the electric gates obstructing the drive.

Her husband’s transit van had been moved to outside the front door.

“She realised she had been burgled and phoned the police,” said prosecutor Patrick Dennis.

“The property had been broken into and the large safe containing expensive jewellery had been dragged out of the door.”

The case was heard at Maidstone Crown Court
The case was heard at Maidstone Crown Court

Mr Dennis said the value of the jewellery was not known because the victims were reluctant to say. Damage caused to the gates and other property was put at almost £2,000.

Mr Vagha and his wife had also been forced to spend “thousands” on upgrading their security system.

Ripley, who boxed for England from the ages of 11 to 18, was jailed for two years after admitting burglary.

The 30-year-old father of two had 18 previous convictions for 24 offences, including burglary, robbery and theft.

Tom Stern, defending, said Ripley had “grasped the nettle and done the sensible thing”.

“He was very successful in his early years as a boxer,”he said. “He got into the wrong lifestyle, drinking and taking drugs.

Judge Adele Williams
Judge Adele Williams

“There appears to have been a group involved in this. He says he was hired as a pair of hands to assist. That day was to be about the school run and collecting children in the afternoon.”

Judge Adele Williams said the burglary showed signs of professionalism and the house was plainly targeted.

“You have had the good sense to plead guilty,” she told Ripley. “You have court appearances for all manner of offences.”

Det Con Steven Brown said: "Ripley forced his way into the property by smashing through a rear door.

"The victim then returned home to also find her front door open and the safe next to the van, with the engine still running.

"Thankfully, the crucial evidence obtained by our crime scene investigators left Ripley with no choice but to plead guilty.

"Being burgled leaves victims feeling violated and vulnerable in their own property, but I do hope in this instance those affected by Ripley’s actions can at least take comfort from the fact justice has been swiftly served."

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