Two men jailed for burglary near Haywards Heath

Robert Mansbridge and Craig Preston (C) Sussex Police 2024

A gardener and his accomplice have been jailed for stealing thousands of pounds from their employers near Haywards Heath.

Robert Mansbridge was a gardener for a property in Portsmouth Lane, Lindfield for 25 years, but together with Craig Preston, they secretly burgled from the occupants.

Police were called to a report of a residential burglary on 4 May 2023, in which thousands of pounds worth of jewellery and personal items were stolen.

They were arrested a day later in the same car. A large amount of stolen items were found in the vehicle they were in.

Mansbridge, 57, of no fixed address was found guilty by the jury following a four day trial at Lewes Crown Court on 2 April.

Preston, 42, of no fixed address pleaded guilty to the charge.  

They were sentenced to a combined seven years’ imprisonment when they appeared before Lewes Crown Court on 24 June.

Mansbridge was jailed for four years and Preston was jailed for three years.

Detective Chief Inspector Colin Garman said: “This imprisonment of Mansbridge and Preston will have prevented them committing many further residential burglaries in Mid Sussex.

“Most importantly, the sentence gives the victims and their family peace of mind after Mansbridge and Preston breached years of trust by committing this offence.

“The team worked extremely hard to secure this result.”

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