Burglar sentenced for theft of stuffed animals from Wandsworth warehouse

A burglar who stole stuffed animals worth £100,000 from a Wandsworth warehouse has been handed a 21 month suspended prison sentence.

Jason Robert Hopwood, of Drummond Road, Romford, stole stuffed lions, zebra and a chimpanzee in a top hat in the burglary at Wimbledon Stadium Business Centre in March last year.

Hopwood, 47, was also ordered to complete 200 hours of community service at the sentencing at Kingston Crown Court yesterday.

He had pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing to burglary and fraudulent use of a registration plate.

Stuffed animals theft - Jason Hopwood

Jason Hopwood

DC Stuart Goss, from Wandsworth CID, said: “This was not a random crime, this was a criminal enterprise and Hopwood was well equipped and well prepared.

“I am very proud to have been able to reunite the victim with these valuable animals and bring Hopwood before the courts.

“Cataloguing and exhibiting the stolen items was a truly unique and memorable experience, and this is certainly an investigation which will stay with me for years to come.”

The burglary took place at around 7.30pm on March 1 last year.

The thieves arrived in a van and used angle grinders to force their way into the premises.

They then made off with antiques and 18 stuffed animals.

Hopwood was arrested on September 29 and admitted a role in the burglary after an investigation by Essex Police traced the van used in the burglary to him.

The van had sticky patches on the plates where false plates were believed to have been attached and it contained all of the stolen animals.

Hopwood was identified as the owner of the van.

After being questioned by police following the initial discovery of the van on March __ he denied any involvement in the burglary, claiming that he had sold the van.

However, following his arrest he admitted his role in the theft.

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