A QUARTET of criminals were jailed in July for their involvement in a series of crimes in the Braintree district.

The four men below all received more than 12 months behind bars following hearings at Essex crown courts.

Police said their actions caused "misery" to their victims and have spoken of their delight at securing successful convictions.

The four men are:

Jason Connors

Braintree and Witham Times:

The prolific thief broke into dozens of cars and stole power tools from across mid Essex.

Connors, 24, was linked to 65 different theft from vehicle offences which occurred across East Anglia between September and October 2019.

Police found 19 of those offences, which happened in Braintree, Halstead and Chelmsford, were connected to a series of similar incidents in Hertfordshire, Norfolk, Suffolk, and Cambridgeshire.

Officers found stolen tools inside the vehicle Connors was driving the two times they stopped him.

Connors, of Tamar Way, Slough, was charged with conspiracy to steal and he admitted the offence in court.

He also admitted failing to provide a specimen and driving while disqualified.

Connors was sentenced to three years in jail when he appeared at Chelmsford Crown Court.

He was also banned from driving for 21 months.

Speaking after sentencing, investigating officer Detective Sgtergeant Leila Sandford, of Braintree CID, said: “We know the impact having items stolen from your vehicle can have, particularly if they’re things like tools which you need to work.

“Jason Connors has no respect for other people’s possessions.

“He is a prolific thief whose actions have caused misery to those members of our communities whose vehicles he broke into.

“This conviction and sentencing is the result of a lot of hard work across the criminal investigation department and the community policing team."

Ian Cowan

Braintree and Witham Times:

The paedophile spent nearly £1,800 accessing child abuse through online live streaming services.

Officers from the Police Online Investigation Team executed a warrant at the Cressing home of Ian Cowen in February last year.

It followed information that the internet connection at the address had been used to access indecent images of children between August and September 2018.

A number of computers, phones, and electronic storage devices containing hundreds of indecent images of children were found.

Web searches relating to the abuse of children were also found.

Officers also found dozens of chats with other users on Skype where Cowen discussed the abuse of children and offered to pay for live streams showing abuse.

In total, it was established the 35-year-old, of the Westerings, had spent nearly £1,800 between 2014 and 2019 with various online streaming services.

Cowen admitted making indecent images of children, taking indecent images of children and attempting to arrange a child sexual offence, at Chelmsford Crown Court in April.

He was jailed for three years at the same court in July.

Investigating officer Det Con Nick Riley said: “Following a thorough investigation Ian Cowen is now serving a sentence in prison and will remain a registered sex offender for the rest of his life.

“He attempted to take advantage of vulnerable children and vulnerable people from the Far East, by exploiting their circumstances and their need for food and medication.

“It is abhorrent and Essex Police POLIT will continue to work with colleagues from around the world to put a stop to these horrific crimes.

“No child, whatever their circumstances, should have to suffer at the hands of offenders like Ian Cowen."

James Hearne

Braintree and Witham Times:

The prolific home raider stole bank cards before using them to buy food at McDonald’s.

James Hearne carried out six burglaries across Essex – including properties in Witham - in which he stole bank cards and keys which he used to take victims’ cars.

During a break-in at Laburnam Way, Witham, on March 17 he once again stole bank cards while children were sleeping in the home.

Another incident elsewhere in Essex saw Hearne steal a BMW, which was later found partly dismantled in a “chop shop” in Romford.

Hearne, of Hitchin House, Romford, admitted six counts of burglary, five counts of theft and four counts of fraud at Basildon Crown Court.

Alexandra Monaghan, mitigating, said Hearne had got himself into debt and resorted to crime as he had lost his job, and had the threat of bailiffs coming to his property and taking his possessions.

The court also heard how Hearne had been offending since he was a juvenile.

Sentencing him, Judge Andrew Hurst said: “Five of them were at night when the residents were at home and asleep.

“In Witham the children were present at the home as well.

“You purposefully thought you were going to make quite a lot of money.

“It seems to me that committing a burglary is what you do and you do not care about people’s property and the effect on them when they are targeted.”

Hearne was jailed for nine years.

Harry Adams

Braintree and Witham Times:

The not-so-smart burglar was stopped by police just 30 minutes after stealing a car in Braintree.

Harry Adams, 21, was sentenced to 18 months behind bars after he admitted stealing a Peugeot 308 from outside a house in Bedford Close.

The owners were woken by their dog barking and heard screeching tyres outside.

They looked out to find their car had been stolen.

Adams had got into the house through the front door and taken a handbag containing car keys and a purse from inside the porch.

He was travelling along the A12 at Brentwood in the stolen vehicle when he was stopped by police – just 30 minutes after they were told of the burglary.

Adams, of Fernhill Street, Woolwich, was arrested and charged soon after.

He admitted burglary and theft of a motor vehicle when he appeared at Chelmsford Crown Court in July.

He was ordered to pay a £156 victim surcharge on top of the his jail sentence.

Adams was also banned from driving for two years and three months.

Speaking after sentencing, the victim and owner of the Peugeot said: “This incident has been devastating and had a huge impact on my whole family. I am glad that the person involved has been charged now as it has put my mind at rest.

“I have to give credit to Essex Police for finding my car so quickly – we are so lucky to have gotten the vehicle back. The officers were brilliant and it was fantastic for us.”