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Good neighbour corners burglar after chase in Didcot
AS ROBERT Hollister looked out of his kitchen window, he knew there was something not quite right about the men outside his neighbour’s house.
His instincts turned out to be right as they were just about to burgle the empty house in Arndale Beck, Didcot.
And it was his witness testimony that helped convict one of the men, Andrew Bayliss, at Oxford Crown Court this week.
Mr Hollister, who has lived in the street for seven years, sprung into action when he heard the back door being broken down on February 21.
The 39-year-old, co-owner of a telecoms business, told the Oxford Mail: “I had my mobile and just rung the police telling them there was a burglary in progress.
“As these guys were leaving the police hadn’t arrived so for reasons still unknown to me I shouted “oi, stop”.
“They had been walking without a care in the world and then they just turned and ran. And I just went after them.
"A PCSO had turned up at this point and she was in her car and I kept following them and we went round some streets and they went through a stream before Bayliss turned back.
“So I decided to go after him and I cornered him in a dead-end street and by that point loads of police had turned up and they took over.”
He added: “I think I was just mental for doing it. I would hope someone would do it if it was my house.
“It was really down to luck that I noticed anything at all. If I hadn’t been looking out of the kitchen window at the right time then I would have never seen a thing.”
When Mr Hollister dashed outside to tackle the burglar, he didn’t even have time to tie his laces – one thing he regrets about the incident.
He said: “Had I known what was going to happen, I would have stopped to put my shoes on properly and grab a coat, as it was freezing.”
A laptop and camera were taken from the house, and later recovered. Bayliss was arrested and charged with burglary.
After a three-day trial this week a jury unanimously found him guilty in just under three hours on Wednesday.
Bayliss, 25, wept and murmured “no, no, no” as they read the verdict.
Recorder Rhona Campbell he was facing prison for his third burglary “strike”.
The court heard that Bayliss, now living in Blackpool, Lancashire, had two convictions for burglary from 2006 and 2007.
Ms Campbell remanded him into custody and said: “Please be under no misapprehension that this is your third dwelling burglary, which comes with imprisonment of a minimum of three years.
“Realistically, you must go with that in mind.”
She requested a pre-sentence report to be prepared.
Alex Bayne, 29, of Calder Way, Didcot, admitted burglary at an earlier hearing and will be sentenced alongside Bayliss next month.
Another man arrested at the scene was not charged with any offence.
Investigating officer Dc Katie Ford: “It's thanks to the efforts and extremely good observations of the community that this intrusive crime has been solved and these two men have been convicted.
“I have met Mr Hollister and thanked him personally for the role he played in helping to apprehend the defendants.”
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