Jailed: York burglar who left behind trail of evidence at victims’ homes

Matthew John Dodson
17 Dec 2019 @ 4.03 pm
| Crime

A burglar who left his rucksack and a shovel behind at two burglaries leading straight to his arrest has been jailed.

Matthew John Dodson, 45, has been jailed for five and a half years for two burglaries in York.

At around 5am on 25 July 2019, a homeowner was as his home on Malton Avenue when he was woken by a loud bang. He went outside to investigate the noise and found a man in the back garden of his property. He shouted at him to leave before calling police.

At around 9am the same morning, a second house was broken into a short distance away on Heworth Green. The victims, who had been on holiday at the property, woke to find their passports and camera had been moved to one side and a pint of milk had been taken.

A rucksack found at the Heworth Green property contained items belonging to Dodson and he was arrested in the early hours the following day.

DNA found on a shovel, which had been left behind at the property on Malton Avenue, linked Dodson to the first break-in and he was charged with one count burglary and a second count of attempted burglary.

Elaborate story

York Magistrates’ Court. Photograph: Richard McDougall
Dodson claimed that his rucksack had been lost after an altercation with a group of youths and that he had picked up the shovel to protect himself from the gang with no knowledge of where the two incidents took place.

After pleading guilty, Dodson, of no fixed address, was found guilty by a jury and sentenced to five and a half year at York Crown Court on Monday 16 December 2019. He was also ordered to pay a victim’s surcharge of £181.

Following sentencing, Investigating Officer Detective Constable Karl May of North Yorkshire Police’s Investigation Hub said:

  • Dodson denied all knowledge of the two burglaries and came up with an elaborate story as to why his belongings were found at the scene of both.

    However, his attempts to maintain his innocence proved unsuccessful and I am pleased that the jury found him guilty.

    I know being burgled can leave victims frightened for a very long time and I’d like to thank the victims in this case for their support with our investigation.

    It is only right that our communities are protected by criminals such as Dodson and so I am pleased with the custodial sentence he’s received and glad that he is now off the streets.

What to do if you have been burgled

Ring 999 if you believe the offender is still in your house or has just run away; if not use the 101 number. You will be given a crime number to quote in an insurance claim, or if you want to contact police with any follow-up queries.

Try to preserve the crime scene for any forensic evidence that may be of use to the police. If possible, do not touch anything or allow your children or pets into the same rooms that the burglar has been in.

For more advice visit northyorkshire.police.uk/homesecurity