Published: 10:31, 21 May 2018
| Updated: 12:39, 23 May 2018
Two brothers who stole nearly 200 computers worth more than £180,000 from businesses and schools across Kent and Sussex have been jailed.
Brian and Daniel Hitchcock were sentenced at Maidstone Crown Court having been convicted of conspiracy to commit burglaries between August 2016 and February 2017.
In August 2016, they burgled a repair centre at Fircroft Way, Edenbridge where 35 laptop computers were stolen from a workshop.
In the same month they stole a total of 110 computers from colleges in Worthing and Heathfield, Sussex.
A further 87 computers were stolen by Brian during a burglary at a Sevenoaks school in September later that year.
On 22 February 2017, Kent Police executed a search warrant at Brian's home address in Oslo Square, Rotherhithe.
Officers seized a handwritten note containing a list of computers taken during the Edenbridge burglary and a repair note from the owner of one of the stolen laptops. Brian's fingerprints were later found to be on the list.
Investigators also seized a document containing the address of the college burgled in Worthing and a list of other colleges and businesses.
In addition, a tablet computer seized at the address was later traced to a burglary at a business in Bermondsey the previous day.
Brian was arrested and subsequently charged with conspiracy to commit burglaries while Brother Daniel, of Roundel Close, Kings Hill, was arrested and charged with the same offence.
The two men pleaded guilty at Maidstone Crown Court and 37-year-old Brian was sentenced to two years in prison. Daniel, 41, was jailed for one year and four months.
Emma Denne, 36, of Oslo Square, Rotherhithe, who was also convicted in connection with the burglaries, received a one year jail sentence suspended for 18 months.
Detective sergeant Tom Daveney said: "This group was well organised and set out to profit from the sale of the devices through internet sites.
"Computers valued at more than £180,000 were stolen and a large number of these have not been recovered.
"The impact of their crimes cannot be measured solely in terms of financial loss but also on the effect it had on students’ learning, which was significantly affected by the loss of so many computers."