COUNTY NEWS: ‘Most wanted’ burglar could be in Sussex

Peter Kerrigan, one of Britain's most prolific burglars, is wanted by police. Picture: Metropolitan Police

Peter Kerrigan, one of Britain's most prolific burglars, is wanted by police. Picture: Metropolitan Police

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Metropolitan Police has asked people in Sussex to watch out for one of the most prolific burglars in the country after he absconded from a psychiatric unit last year.

The force is stepping up its efforts to catch Peter Kerrigan, 28, who is Hackney Police’s ‘most wanted’ criminal and targeted the elderly by impersonating a police officer.

It is imperative that he is found before he ruins other people’s lives

Paul Ridley

The charity Crimestoppers is offering a reward of up to £1,000 for information leading to the arrest of Kerrigan.

According to Metropolitan Police, Kerrigan was on escorted leave from the John Howard centre, Kenworthy Road, Hackney when he absconded in Narrow Way, E8 at approximately 4.45pm on March 29, 2015.

An appeal for information to trace Kerrigan featured on the BBC’s Crimewatch Roadshow on Friday.

Kerrigan, who is from the Irish travelling community, was serving a six-year sentence for a series of artifice burglaries when he absconded.

He preyed on the elderly, vulnerable & disabled by impersonating a police officer before stealing from what should have been the safety of their own homes.

Detective Inspector Paul Ridley, from Hackney CID, who is leading the investigation, said: “It has now been 15 months since Kerrigan absconded after he was jailed for committing these despicable crimes. The oldest victim he targeted was a 92-year-old female who was asleep in her bed. She was left terrified by the masked intruder. Another elderly female was 89-years-old at the time of the offence described how Kerrigan ransacked her bedroom and stole personal effects as she was powerless to stop him. She was deeply traumatised for a long time afterwards. It is imperative that he is found before he ruins other people’s lives.”

Mr Ridley believes that someone maybe assisting Kerrigan to evade capture.

To them he said: “Anyone who knows of Kerrigan’s whereabouts or maybe harbouring him, I would urge them to think about the damage Kerrigan has done to his defenceless victims and ask them to contact police. Several of his victims have now died, unfortunately without seeing Kerrigan face the consequences of his actions. I can personally assure you that all information received will be treated in the strictest of confidence.”

Kerrigan has links across the country including, Maidstone, Sussex, Peterborough, Lincolnshire and Leicester. He is also known to visit various areas of London, including Hackney, Brent and Newham.

Officers advise anyone who sees Peter Kerrigan, or knows of his whereabouts, to call 999 immediately.

Alternatively, Crimestoppers can be contacted anonymously on 0800 555 111 or through the Anonymous Online Form at crimestoppers-uk.org.