Retired Met officer helps to apprehend burglars in South Woodford

Two violent burglars are behind bars after a retired Met officer teamed up with police to apprehend them.

David Hansen, 27, of Lawes Way, Barking Riverside and Sean Bello, 24, of no fixed abode were sentenced to nine years; and seven and a half years respectively, after being found guilty of aggravated burglary at Snaresbrook Crown Court on Friday, February 14.

The court heard that at around 5:25pm on August 11, 2019, retired Met sergeant, Kenneth Alen was at home in South Woodford when he noticed a suspect vehicle, a black Audi S-Line, repeatedly going the wrong way down a one way system.

The car parked up outside a residential address and two men got out and put on face coverings and hoodies.

They approached a house belonging to a woman who lived with her young family, and forced their way inside. Fortunately, they were not at home at the time.

Mr Alen called 999. He then approached the suspect vehicle and spotted a man sat in the driver’s seat. As he went to the driver’s door, the vehicle sped off. He then headed towards the front door as the two suspects were making their way out and attempted to stop them. He was punched several times in the process.

Response officers from the East Area Command Unit had arrived at the scene. One of them, PC Natalia Kolodziej, chased the suspects into the kitchen, where she grappled with the two men while waiting for support from Mr Alen and her colleagues.

The men were detained with assistance from Mr Alen and PC Kolodziej’s colleagues. They were found to be in possession of flick knives, a large screw driver, and a large quantity of gold – later identified as having been stolen from the address.

Hansen and Bello were taken into custody, later charged, and remanded in custody.

DC Danny D’Arcy, of the East Area Command Unit, said: “A police officer is never off duty, and this is a prime example of that”

“Hansen and Bello pose a significant risk of harm to the public and have been incarcerated for their crimes thanks to the valiant and selfless actions of Mr Alen and PC Kolodziej, who teamed up to go above and beyond what is expected of them to apprehend armed and violent offenders in difficult circumstances.

“Also due to the diligent work of the officer in the case, DC McNamee of the East Area Gangs and Proactive Unit, they were charged with aggravated burglary and received the significant sentence.”

Mick Ferris

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