A FATHER and daughter have been left “living on edge” after a gang of men burgled their home twice while they were away on holiday.

Drug user Martin Hooper, 51, was one of four men who made off with a £8,500 haul of goods from the family home in Church Road, Clacton.

The burglary was captured on CCTV cameras, following which Hooper was identified by police officers.

Hooper, from nearby Carnarvon Road initially denied any involvement in the raid, which happened in July 2019.

Robert Meikle, prosecuting, told Chelmsford Crown Court that Hooper was clearly identified in the images and subsequently admitted to the burglary at a hearing in January.

“The victim had gone on holiday but was able to look at a CCTV system,” he said.

“He saw a door in his property had been opened and contacted family members who went to his address and found he had been burgled.

“The CCTV shows at 3.35am and 7am of July 28, four men burgled the premises.

“The four men went around the flat and picked up anything they considered to be of value – they took a number of electrical items, jewellery, two air weapons, two crossbows, two knives, toiletries, coins, bags, sunglasses and trainers.”

In a victim impact statement, Paul Lockwood said he has been “constantly on edge” since his home was “violated” by the group.

“I now feel so anxious and I’m living trapped in my own home,” he said.

“I dread being away and simply don’t feel my property is safe without it being occupied.

“My 15-year-old daughter has really been affected – coming to me at night worried people are in the garden. This has really changed her.”

The court heard Hooper had committed the burglary while on bail for a shoplifting offence.

Philippa Beswick, mitigating, said: “Mr Hooper is a Class A drug user.

“He didn’t really remember very much about the incident. He believes he was spiked.”

Sentencing Hooper to 15 months in prison, Judge Christopher Morgan said previous community orders had failed and the “time had come” for him to be jailed.

He said the victim’s belongings had been “swept up” into bin bags and pillow cases to be sold on and the money “squandered” on drugs.

“It is not simply the loss of items that can be easily replaced, it is the loss of items that have been handed down through generations,” he said.