Jail for Hampstead and Islington trio after forensics helped track thieves responsible for £20,000 home invasion

Charlie Durkin and Connor Patterson. Picture: Met Police

Charlie Durkin and Connor Patterson. Picture: Met Police - Credit: Archant

Three north London men have been jailed after admitting to a £20,000 burglary in Barnet last November.

Lee Smith. Picture: Met Police

Lee Smith. Picture: Met Police - Credit: Archant

Conor Patterson, 24, of Mansfield Road, Hampstead, and Islington men Charlie Durkin, 29, of Thornhill Road and Lee Smith, 27, of Bickerton Road, all pleaded guilty to burglary charges after they were arrested in early morning raid in Camden on April 7.

They have each been sentenced to three years and eight months in prison.

The burglary, in Courtleigh Avenue, Barnet, took place on November 24 and saw a safe with a significant amount of jewellery taken.

The Met were able to trace the three men after recovering a scrap of fabric worn by Patterson from the crime scene.

Officers also tracked a white transit van used by the suspects to a Camden construction company where Durkin was an employee, and then established he had been driving the van on the night in question.

Det Sgt Gary Taylor, from the Met’s Flying Squad, paid tribute to the work of forensics officers in cracking the crime. He added: “This case shows the best of the Met – officers who work tirelessly with colleagues from other departments in order to detain, charge and prosecute offenders and seek justice for victims of crime in London.”

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This burglary was investigated by the Flying Squad as part of a larger series of robberies and aggravated burglaries across north London over the course of several months.

On the morning of Tuesday, 7 April, officers executed warrants to arrest Patterson, Durkin and Smith. Met Commissioner Cressida Dick took part in the warrant to help reassure the public that proactive operations were continuing during the coronavirus pandemic.

Phil Kaye, who leads the Met’s forensics team, said: “Forensic experts are often unsung frontline heroes who are available day and night to help officers identify and or eliminate suspects and bring offenders to justice.

“The forensic evidence found was significant against Patterson that made it impossible to deny. I am extremely proud of the work they deliver and that they have been able to help Det Sgt Taylor and his team secure this result.”