A STOLEN caravan was traced to a lock-up unit linked to a prolific motoring offender within a few hours of the crime, a court heard.

The 2004 Swift Charisma model was bought for £5,000 in July 2020 and the owner parked it outside his father’s home, in Elemore Place, Newton Aycliffe.

Durham Crown Court heard that the owner’s father was sitting in his kitchen, when he heard a car engine outside, at about 6.45am, on November 8.

He looked out of the window and saw the caravan being towed away by a blue Honda Accord vehicle.

Shaun Dryden, prosecuting, said the vehicle stopped around the corner and a man was seen getting out and inspecting the side of the caravan, before getting back into the vehicle and driving away.

Mr Dryden said it was reported to police and by 7.15am the Honda was abandoned in Elm Road, Shildon.

By 9.30am the caravan was located in a lock-up linked to defendant Iain Boddy, in Randolph Terrace, Coundon.

Officers attended and recovered the caravan, which was returned to the owner.

Boddy was interviewed about the theft on February 27 this year and made no reply to police questions.

Examination of the caravan provided a forensic match with the defendant’s DNA, recovered from a handle.

Boddy, 39, of Holly Hill, Shildon, admitted the caravan theft at a recent magistrates’ hearing and the case was committed to be sentenced at the crown court.

Mr Dryden said Boddy has 35 convictions for 74 offences, featuring “numerous” motoring offences.

They include a conviction for conspiracy for cutting up stolen motor vehicle parts and selling them on Ebay, plus handling a stolen motor home, worth £24,000.

Boddy received suspended prison sentences for handling stolen goods and driving while banned, last year.

They were activated earlier this year when Boddy received a total six-month prison sentence after committing a further offence of driving while disqualified, in March.

Lewis Kerr, in mitigation, pointed out that the six-month sentence has been served since the commission of the offence for which Boddy was before the court.

Judge James Adkin said his past convictions show the defendant is “devoted to vehicle crime”, whether it be motor homes, quad bikes, or, as in this case, caravans.

“You appear to me to be a professional criminal, but you have served a recent prison sentence, since committing this offence.”

He said for that reason, alone, he could suspend the 12-month prison sentence for two years.

But he also made Boddy subject to a six-month electronically-monitored 7pm to 7am home curfew and imposed a further two-year driving ban.

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