Homeless man’s ‘survival strategy’ lands him in jail

PUBLISHED: 13:24 05 February 2013 | UPDATED: 13:43 05 February 2013

Exeter Crown Court.

Exeter Crown Court.


Crooked rambler broke into 82 caravans.

A thieving rambler spent four months hiking his way along the South West coast path and living in other people’s seaside caravans.

Alan Campbell started his journey in Weymouth and made his way westward, seeking out empty caravans and staying until he had finished all the food and drink he could find inside.

He covered exactly 100 miles and reached Aveton Gifford, near Kingsbridge, in South Devon, before the weather got cold in November and he gave himself up to police.

In the four months he was on the road, he broke into a total of 82 different caravans. His route through Dorset took in caravan sites at Weymouth, West Bexington, Portesham, Burton Bradstock and Chideock.

He moved into East Devon and burgled caravans at Rousden, Colyton, Salcombe Regis, Sidmouth, Ladram Bay and Castle Brake on Woodbury Common.

He moved on down the coast to Dartmouth before spending his last night of freedom at Aveton Gifford, near Kingsbridge.

Campbell started his trek after being released from prison for previous thefts and ended it back in jail when his licence was revoked and he was recalled to finish his earlier sentence.

His journey took in 13 caravan sites, but he broke into more than one on several of them, making up the total of 82 burglaries.

Campbell, 39, of no fixed abode, admitted two burglaries and asked for 80 to be considered. Judge Phillip Wassall adjourned sentence until next month.

David Bowen, prosecuting, said: “All these 82 offences relate to burglaries of static caravans which were unoccupied at the time.

“Each resulted in a small amount of foodstuffs being taken and in some instances damage being caused as the result of entering the caravan.

“They range in area from Weymouth to Aveton Gifford.

“He went along the coast staying at 13 different sites.

“He helped himself to food and drink inside the caravans and took some personal equipment.

“It came to light because he handed himself in to police in November and made full admissions to all the offences.

“This was a concerted campaign of burglary committed over a period of time.”

He said Campbell has one conviction for dwelling house burglary, six for non dwelling burglary, 11 for theft, two for taking cars and three for deception and was on prison licence at the time of these offences.

Nick Bradley, defending, said: “He found himself without accommodation wandering around the South West coast path and he acknowledges his survival strategy involved the intrusion into these caravans.

“It was not a planned spree of offending and these were not high value thefts.

“The winter and the way he was living had a deteriorating effect on his health.

“Eventually he put an end to it by going to the authorities and telling them what he was doing.”

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