Wisbech burglars who struck while family was in Wales used Facebook to prey on their victims

TWO men ransacked a Wisbech family home after they saw on Facebook that the occupants had gone away to Wales.

Peter Trower, 22, and Joseph McLennan, 18, stole valuables including jewellery, DVDs, a desktop computer and a purse from the house in Chapel Road.

Fenland magistrates heard today that they planned the burglary after one member of the victimised family broadcast that they would be going away to Wales on Facebook.

Trower had been to the home on at least two previous occasions as a friend of one of the daughters, the court heard.

But, after a run-in with the family at a pub in the town some time before, he hatched a plan to burgle the three-bedroom home as an act of “revenge”.

McLennan agreed to go along with the idea, as he was “desperate for cash”, Andrea Fawcett, prosecuting, told the court.

They were caught after a neighbour saw a man on the conservatory roof passing washing baskets full of possessions to someone on the ground.

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Police then arrested the two men in the early hours of August 28, after they were caught with a box containing a desktop computer, a rucksack full of electrical goods and a lady’s purse.

McLennan was found wearing black socks on his hands, with a computer mouse stuffed in his pocket.

Subsequent investigations revealed more boxes of stolen possessions stored in an outbuilding at Trower’s mother’s house.

These included DVDs, a jewellery box, a laptop, a coffee maker, some hair straighteners and some medication.

The owner returned to his home the following day to find every room had been ransacked and his daughter’s City and Guild certificate had been ripped up, the court heard.

Trower had also turned off the electricity at the mains, after he saw a security light shining.

Trower, of John F Kennedy Court, Wisbech, and McLennan, of Townshend Road, Wisbech, both admitted one charge of burglary.

Fenland magistrates decided the case exceeded their powers of punishment and adjourned the case for sentencing at Cambridge Crown Court. A date has not yet been set for this hearing.

DCI Ian Tandy, from Cambridgeshire police, said: “This case highlights the dangers of putting personal information on the internet.

“These two men monitored the victim’s Facebook account waiting for their perfect opportunity to ransack their home.

“Luckily in this case a neighbour saw the burglars and called the police. However, I would urge the public to be cautious when using social media, ensuring you know who has access to your personal information and take full advantage of the privacy settings available.”