A burglar who claimed he was taking a gas meter reading when he was caught in the act of breaking into someone’s home has had his prison sentence extended.
Bedfordshire Police’s dedicated Op Maze burglary squad pursued their investigation into Paul Tripp in order to gain justice for the victim, who Tripp grabbed around the neck and assaulted in the course of the burglary.
On 9 May 2020, Tripp, of Albert Road, Luton, was involved in a burglary in a flat in Old Bedford Road, Luton at around 7am.
The victim was asleep in the living room of her flat, which she had been decorating the day before, when she was woken up by an unknown man in the room with her, who entered through an open window.
The victim challenged the man, later identified as Tripp, who told the victim he was from the letting agency and had been sent to take a gas meter reading.
The victim asked Tripp to leave and when he refused, the victim grabbed Tripp. The altercation ended in Tripp leaning over the victim and squeezing her neck.
Tripp eventually let go of the victim and left through the front door. The victim then called the police and police circulated the description of the suspect.
A few hours later, a member of the public called in and gave a description of a man in People’s Park, Luton, which matched the suspect. Police located Tripp and arrested him on suspicion of burglary and actual bodily harm.
While he was charged, Tripp’s case was eventually discontinued at court due to lack of evidence.
However, Bedfordshire Police's dedicated burglary team Operation Maze believed they had their suspect for the offence on Old Bedford Road.
When Tripp was arrested again in connection to another burglary, Maze officers used new DNA samples from Tripp and were able to match it to a swab taken from the victim in the Old Bedford Road offence.
Tripp is already serving a sentence of four years and eight months, and on Wednesday (20 April) at Luton Crown Court he had his sentence extended by two years thanks to this Op Maze investigation.
Detective Constable Andy Boston, from the Op Maze burglary team, said: “Despite the dropped charges in the first instance, we persevered to get the victim the justice she deserved.
“This demonstrates the attitude we have at Bedfordshire Police; we strive to bring offenders to justice against the odds and will never give up on getting prolific criminals off our streets.”