Chester man jailed for burglary and fraud offences
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A 41-year-old man from Chester has been jailed for burglary and fraud offences committed in the city.
James Benson, of no fixed address, began his crime spree on Thursday 2 July when he used a bank card belonging to someone else at a convenience store and a restaurant in Brook Street, Chester.
A total of £45.46 was spent on the card, which was in a purse that a woman from Chester put on the ground whilst on a night out in the city centre.
A PCSO subsequently identified Benson as the offender via CCTV footage from the convenience store.
The same was true when he committed a burglary at a house on Grange Road in Chester on the night of Sunday 13 September before fraudulently using a bank card he stole from the address.
Benson spent a total of £110.36 in four separate fraudulent transactions at a convenience store in Newtown, Chester, on Monday 14 September.
The bank card was in a bag belonging to a woman who lives at the house that was burgled in Grange Road, as was a purse, two sets of car keys, sunglasses, a case and some cash.
The bag was located in a nearby alleyway. The victim’s other belongings have not been recovered.
Benson was located and arrested by officers in Brook Street on Wednesday 16 September.
He subsequently pleaded guilty to burglary, handling stolen goods (the bank card that went missing in Brook Street) and six counts of fraud by false representation.
Benson was sentenced for the offences at Chester Crown Court on Friday 16 October.
He was jailed for three-and-a-half years.
Detective Constable Carl Humphreys, who led the investigation on behalf of Chester CID, said: “Burglary is a serious offence in which victims are targeted in their own home, which is the place they should be able to feel most safe.
“After burgling a house on Grange Road in Chester and stealing a number of items, James Benson fraudulently used one of them, a bank card, at a convenience store in the city on four separate occasions the next day.
“He also fraudulently used a bank card belonging to a different woman at a convenience store and a restaurant in the Brook Street area of Chester.
“Thankfully PCSOs were able to identify Benson as the fraudster from CCTV footage on both occasions.
“CCTV footage also led to Benson being located and arrested.
“With footage from convenience stores clearly showing him to be the offender and with a footprint from the burglary address matching the trainers he was wearing when he was arrested, Benson had little choice than to plead guilty to several offences.
“I am pleased that he has now been jailed for his crimes and I hope that this case deters others from committing such offences.”
David Keane, police and crime commissioner for Cheshire, added: “Offences like these are deeply upsetting for the victims.
“I would like to praise the work of the PCSOs and officers who were involved in the investigation for helping to deliver justice for the victims.
“I hope that the outcome of the investigation provides reassurance to residents in Chester and elsewhere in Cheshire.”