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Manhunt underway for burglar who snatched £40,000 ballet shoes from Crouch End pensioner

PUBLISHED: 10:59 25 August 2010 | UPDATED: 17:06 07 September 2010

Police are searching for Graham Shoebridge

Police are searching for Graham Shoebridge

A MANHUNT is underway for a burglar who befriended a 79-year-old Crouch End man before harassing him and stealing a pair of ballet shoes worth £40,000. Graham Shoebridge, 37, pleaded guilty to burglary and criminal damage at Highbury Corner Magistrates Co

A MANHUNT is underway for a burglar who befriended a 79-year-old Crouch End man before harassing him and stealing a pair of ballet shoes worth £40,000.

Graham Shoebridge, 37, pleaded guilty to burglary and criminal damage at Highbury Corner Magistrates Court in July and was released on bail until his sentencing - but he failed to appear.

Islington police were contacted in December 2009 by the family of the pensioner, who lived in Crouch Hill, after Shoebridge befriended and moved in with him before systematically harassing him, stealing from him and causing damaged to the home.

The family managed to get him to leave the home, but Shoebridge continued to harass the man and his family, making obscene phone calls to the victim's elderly sister and sending offensive letters about him and his deceased partner to family members and friends.

On December 17 last year, the victim came home to find that his pair of antique Margot Fonteyn ballet shoes had been stolen along with other personal items.

During the investigation, Shoebridge travelled around the country to evade capture and was eventually located in Torquay in June after he was arrested for committing a similar offence against a member of the LGBT community in Devon.

He was charged with malicious communications against both victims and jailed for 70 days.

During his sentence, Shoebridge made a full admission to burglary and criminal damage and also told Islington police officers where the stolen ballet shoes were - they have now been recovered.

In July he was charged with the offences and was due to appear for his sentencing at Blackfriars Crown Court on August 20, but did not appear.

Investigating officer, Detective Sergeant Julie Henderson, said: "We would urgently like to trace Graham Shoebridge, who has previously targeted members of the LGBT community.

"Although he is not thought to be dangerous, he is capable of doing this to someone else and we want to prevent this happening.

"This has been extremely upsetting for the victims and their families, and we want to trace him to ensure he is sentenced for these crimes.

"I would also ask anyone who knows anything that could help us find Shoebridge, or thinks they have previously been a victim of this type of crime, to please get in touch with us.

"People should be aware that he may be using a different alias."

Anyone with information about this should contact the police on 0300 123 1212 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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