A CAREER criminal who burgled homes in Sutton Coldfield, changed his name in prison and used hire cars to ransack homes across the West Midlands has been jailed for six years.
Jason Hatton – formerly known as Michael Hatton – duped friends and girlfriends into hiring cars in their name and then used them to travel to properties across the West Midlands, which he would then burgle.
In just under a month, the 38-year-old carried out two raids in Streetly – in Compton Drive on June 4 and Coniston Road on July 1 – and another in Liskeard Road on June 10, before raiding further properties in Coventry, stealing jewellery, hi-tech equipment and cash.
But he was caught out after detectives investigating the string of house break-ins used undercover tactics to catch him.
Yet when he was spotted by officers in his car, he tried to get away – dragging one policeman, who was attempting to open his door, along the road.
Detective Constable Pete Waterman, from Coventry’s investigation team, said: “Hatton tried all the tricks in the book to evade arrest but we were determined to catch our man.
“He was a known criminal and changed his name whilst serving a prison sentence for burglary thinking that we would not be able to trace him.
“He thought he was committing the perfect crimes – that by changing his name and using hire cars under different people’s names would prevent him from getting caught.
“But he didn’t count on the fact that we could track his every move and that by working with our colleagues at Walsall we were able to put the pieces together.”
An Audi he had used in the Coniston Road burglary was traced to his home address of Dickinson Drive, Bescot – and when officers seized the car they found wood splinters and a receipt from a second hand store.
CCTV obtained from the store proved that Hatton had sold on a stolen iPhone.
On July 1, Hatton had smashed his way into the house and in doing so damaged the rear gate. Splinters of wood from the gate were found in the Audi placing Hatton at the scene.
Detectives determined to find Hatton began checking other known addresses for him – and one included his ex-girlfriend’s address in Erdington.
His ex had recently hired cars which raised the suspicions of officers and after conducting checks it was established that Hatton was driving them.
An arrest sting was put together and his ex-girlfriend’s address was put under surveillance by undercover cops.
One day after his final burglary in Baginton Road, Coventry on July 24, Hatton was spotted by officers and his car was stopped on School Lane, Shard End. As officers opened the car door, Hatton drove off dragging the officer along the road.
After a short chase involving a police helicopter and traffic officers, Hatton was stopped and arrested.
The crook hadn’t realised that trackers were fitted by the hire companies on all of the cars he had used. Officers analysed the data, which placed the cars in Coventry and Walsall at the times of several burglaries.
Hatton refused to talk to officers – answering “no comment” to all of their questions – which prompted officers to begin a “painstaking” task of compiling evidence.
And at Leamington Justice Centre last Thursday (January 30), Hatton pleaded guilty to six charges of burglary, which occurred in 2013.
Welcoming the sentence, DC Waterman added: “We relied solely on evidence that needed to be gathered over several months by a team of dedicated officers determined to bring this man to justice.
“We hope that the sentence offers some comfort to his victims.”