A THIEF who went on a crime spree targeting Oxford businesses has been jailed for nearly four years.

Raymond Starkings, of Quarry Close, Chipping Norton, went into private areas of pubs and other businesses in the city to steal cash and staff belongings.

The 29-year-old, who was sentenced at Oxford Crown Court for burglary and fraud, was brought to justice following a complex police investigation.

DCI Bruce Riddell said: “Starkings’s MO was going into insecure buildings – into staff areas and behind counters – and stealing stuff.

“It was good work by the investigating officers – PC Jamie Thornton and DC James Salt – linking all of these burglaries together, getting out and getting CCTV, and identifying who was behind them.

“The biggest satisfaction for us is in helping the 20-odd victims of crime – that we can say we know who the offender is and that he has been given the appropriate sentence.

“He won’t be causing any problems for a while.”

Starkings launched his crime spree on New Year’s Day when he entered a home in Iffley Road and made off with cash.

On January 9 he struck again, this time by walking into the Duke of Monmouth pub in Abingdon Road at 10.30am and, again, stealing money.

The following day, Starkings went into a private area of Oxford Spires Hotel, also in Abingdon Road. While there he stole some staff belongings.

Starkings went into The One restaurant and bar in Botley Road on January 11 and stole a computer and some cash.

A few days later on January 16 he went into Leys Dental Practice in Dunnock Way. He stole cash and a purse from a staff room before being confronted. He made his excuses and left the building.

The following evening Starkings targeted Oxford City Football Club in Marsh Lane.

He entered the changing rooms, where a group playing football had left their belongings, and stole nine mobile phones and a Macbook Pro as well as some cash. He also stole credit cards which he went on to use in shops.

It was using the bank cards that led Starkings to be convicted for fraud as well as burglary.

In total, Starkings stole around £750 in cash and £2,500 in stolen property.

Police first arrested him for the Iffley Road and football club burglaries on January 20.

While holding the thief in custody, officers were able to gather CCTV evidence linking him the other burglaries in the city.

Their work in collecting strong evidence against Starkings also meant that the victims did not have to go to trial.

He was sentenced at Oxford Crown Court on Tuesday, June 5.

DCI Riddell continued: “Hopefully it sends out a strong message that we will be relentless in our investigation of these offences.

“We will work tirelessly to bring offenders to justice.”

DCI Riddell also warned that the time of year meant it was more important than ever to be wary of burglary, with opportunist thieves taking advantage of windows and doors left open in the heat.