Burglar jailed after stealing from Swanage and Wareham businesses

A man has been sentenced to six years in prison after admitting to more than 30 burglaries in Dorset including four in Swanage and Wareham.

David Clift, aged 47 and of no fixed abode, appeared at Bournemouth Crown Court on Tuesday 18th June 2024 for sentencing, after pleading guilty to nine offences and asking for a further 23 burglaries to be taken into consideration.

David Clift
Dorset Police

David Clift jailed for six years

Stole £500 from till at Brook Tea Rooms

He was charged with nine commercial burglaries in Swanage, Weymouth and Dorchester, that took place between Wednesday 13th December 2023 and Tuesday 27th February 2024.

At Brook Tea Rooms on Swanage seafront he stole around £500 from the till on 13th December 2023. The other premises targeted were in Weymouth and Dorchester and included churches and a hair salon.

Officers from the local neighbourhood policing team worked with investigators from the Volume Crime Team to compile evidence of Clift’s offending, which included CCTV and forensic evidence, and he was arrested on Wednesday 28th February 2024.

While he was in custody, Clift spat at and kicked out at an officer.

Brook Tea Rooms in Swanage was one of his targets

Further 23 burglaries taken into account

Clift was subsequently charged and at court he admitted a further 23 burglary offences – 15 in Weymouth, four in Dorchester, two in Wareham, one in Swanage and one in Crewkerne in Somerset – which were taken into account when he was sentenced.

In Swanage, he stole £1,100 in cash from The Grape Tree in Station Road in Swanage between 30th and 31st December 2023.

While in Wareham, he took £40 in cash from Hairy Hounds Dog Grooming between 11th and 12th February 2024 and stole items valued at £20 and an unknown quantity of cash from a charity box from W Pond and Co between 12th and 13th February 2024.

The Grape Tree shop in Station Road

Health food shop Grape Tree in Station Road, Swanage had £1,100 stolen

“Prolific offender”

Police constable Dave Williams, of the Volume Crime Team, said:

“David Clift is a prolific offender who repeatedly targeted commercial premises in the Weymouth, Dorchester and Purbeck areas.

“We fully recognise the impact offending of this nature has on businesses, with many of those targeted by Clift being smaller independent retailers.

“With local officers from the neighbourhood policing team, we are committed to taking action against offenders such as Clift so they can be held accountable for their crimes.”

“One-man crime wave”

Neighbourhood inspector Sam Goom, of Weymouth and Portland police, said:

“David Clift was a one-man crime wave. Officers from across Weymouth and West Dorset worked diligently and quickly to identify and apprehend him. Our relentless approach has ensured he has faced justice in the courts.

“I hope this brings the victims some satisfaction. His sentence will ensure the public are protected from him for some time.”

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