A pervert who plagued a picturesque village for a decade by breaking into women’s homes and stealing their knickers has been jailed for three years.
Nigel Hewing, 55, would sometimes return to the same house more than once, before he was finally caught in June.
Hewing snuck into homes while the occupants were out and searched for underwear before stuffing them into a pillow case which he used as a makeshift swag bag.
Hewing started his warped campaign in the small Nottinghamshire village of Radcliffe-on-Trent in 2002 but was finally caught in June.
Single Hewing admitted 13 counts of burglary, one of theft and one attempted burglary at Nottingham Crown Court on Wednesday.
The court heard Hewing’s twisted crimes only came to light when he tried to break into the home of a 45-year-old woman on June 20 this year.
When she returned home from work she found a door had been damaged and the key to the porch had been taken.
She reported this to police and revealed that she had been the victim of a burglary four years earlier in which her underwear and a pillow case were stolen.
She also explained that underwear had been stolen from her washing line just the day before on June 19 this year.
Police traced and interviewed Hewing, who drove a silver Mercedes, and he confessed he had broken into several other houses in Radcliffe-on-Trent over the years to steal women’s underwear.
Georgia Moore, chairman of Radcliffe-on-Trent Parish Council, said she was pleased to see justice done.
Mrs Moore, who has lived in the village all her life, said: “It doesn’t matter whether it’s underwear or computers, all break-ins are very serious and it’s good to see the courts recognise the pain burglary can cause.
“Radcliffe is a lovely place to live and it is usually quiet.
“Of course, we have some problems every now and then but what this man has done will have been upsetting to the victims.
“It just goes to show how important it is to report all crimes to the police because they do produce results when they piece things together.”
Detective Constable Alan Oxley, of Nottinghamshire Police, said: “Initially, Hewing appeared very unassuming and came across as an average man – not sinister or threatening at all.
“But as we began to question him, the extent of his devious offending became clear.
“He began to break into houses and steal women’s underwear about ten years ago and it became a sort of obsession for him.
“The impact his actions had on the victims should not be underestimated.
“They were left feeling frightened and violated, scared that he would return when they were at home and possibly assault them.
“Some even accused people close to them of being responsible for the theft of their underwear.
“He would monitor his victims and become familiar with their daily routine and knew when they were not home and so he could carry out his criminal deeds without being disturbed.
“He broke into one woman’s house on five occasions over five years.”