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Bulgarian jailed for burglaries in Jubilee Road, Brighton Road and Regent Street, Watford
Bulgarian burglar Valeri Tsanev has been jailed for 27 months after spending a night breaking into a number of Watford homes.
Often the occupants were asleep and had no idea Tsanev and an accomplice were creeping through their homes.
On Friday when Tsanev appeared for sentence at St Albans crown court, Judge John Plumstead told him: "This was a planned and organised expedition to burgle people's homes at night.
"They slept through it and woke up to the shock that strangers had been in their houses and stolen their property."
The court heard Tsanev and the other burglar were caught by police because at one house where they tried to get in, the 62 year old woman occupant was up at 3.30am on the morning of April 23 having a cup of tea.
She saw the pair outside her home in Sussex Road and called the police.
They raced to the scene to find a tool the pair had been using to try and break in, but no sign of them.
However a short while later they stopped a car in Gammons Lane and found the men.
Inside the Astra police found laptops, mobile phones, money, a Kindle, a digital camera and other stolen property.
The pair were arrested on suspicion of attempted burglary back at the woman's home in Sussex Road and taken to the police station.
Neil King prosecuting said as dawn broke that morning and the pair were still being questioned at Watford Police Station, calls began to come in from people who had woken to discover their homes had been burgled.
It was soon realised the pair in the station were responsible.
Mr King told the court the pair had carried out three burglaries at homes in Jubilee Road, Brighton Road and Regent Street.
Tsanev, 28, a married man with three children of Hornsey Road, Upper Holloway, London N19, pleaded guilty to one offence of attempted burglary and three offences of burglary all committed during the early hours of April 23.
The court heard he had come to the UK at the age of 23 in search of a better life but had found himself doing odd jobs and collecting scrap metal.
He was said to have fallen on hard times and when he and his family were made homeless he accepted the offer to go on the burglary expedition.
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