Burglar who ransacked Premier League footballer penthouse is jailed

Burglar who ransacked Premier League footballer Philip Billing’s £2m seaside penthouse in £10,000 raid is jailed after leaving behind facemask bearing his DNA

  • Nicholas Paul Chan jailed for five years for breaking into Philip Billing’s home 
  • Group of thieves stole PlayStation 4, Louis Vuitton sunglasses and Rolex watch 
  • Read more: Burglary suspect caught pretending to be solar panel on shop roofs

A serial burglar who broke into the home of an AFC Bournemouth player and stole more than £10,000 worth of luxury items has been jailed for five years and four months. 

Nicholas Paul Chan, 37, stole into the Poole penthouse home of Cherries star Philip Billing in August 2020, and stole a PlayStation 4, a pair of Louis Vuitton sunglasses and a Rolex watch, alongside the ball from Biling’s first Premier League match. 

The artful dodgers tried to cover their tracks using washing-up liquid but Chen was caught when his DNA was found on a face mask left in the footballer’s home. 

At Bournemouth Crown Court, Chan, from Liverpool, pleaded guilty to four counts of burglary and was sentenced to five years and four months in prison. 

Judge Robert Pawson said for the past 20 years the burglar has been a ‘serious career criminal’ – and that he had targeted the ‘affluent area’. 

Nicholas Paul Chan, 37, was described as the judge as a career criminal and was sentenced to five years and four months in prison

He stole the ball that Danish footballer Philip Biling had kept from his first Premier League appearance with AFC Bournemouth 

Chan was part of a crime ring on a serial burglary spree at the time of the incident.

On June 8, 2019, he smashed a ground-floor window in Bury Road, Poole, and stole bags worth approximately £5,000. 

Just hours later Chan and his criminal associates stole a Broadband fibre box with £1,000 from the In-Excess garden centre, before travelling to Christchurch and pilfering a safe containing £10,000 from The Boathouse restaurant. 

In August 2020, Chan continued his stealing spree, breaking into Danish footballer Philip Billing’s unoccupied Poole home. 

The group stole Louis Vuitton sunglasses, a PlayStation 4, a Rolex watch, and other items with a total value of more than £10,000.

This included a ball from the Premier League match in which Mr Billing made his debut for AFC Bournemouth. 

During his first season at AFC Bournemouth, Billing made 34 appearances in the Premier League, scoring the opening goal in a 2-1 win over Aston Villa in February 2020. 

He won his first senior cap for Denmark in 2020 and at 6ft 6 is one of the tallest midfielders on the footballing circuit.  

Read more: Fiddler on the roof: Burglary suspect caught pretending to be a solar panel on the top of shops after London break-in

Prosecutor Stuart Ellacott said while the ball might not have had great monetary value, ‘for the player himself, I’m sure it had great sentimental value’.

The criminals then spread washing-up liquid around the property in an effort to scupper any forensic investigations – but were foiled by DNA found on a face mask left in the footballer’s penthouse.  

The victim of the Bury Road burglary said they no longer feel that their family is safe in their home.  

Callum Ross said in mitigation that Chan, who had 13 previous convictions, had been a drug user at the time of the offending and was trying to turn his life around. 

Judge Robert Pawson said: ‘You were part of a group who were reconnoitring the Bournemouth area looking for any rich pickings for burglaries.

‘It’s no coincidence that you were in the area you were in, you knew that this was an extremely affluent area lived in by those, among others, involved in Premiership football.

‘I hope you are turning a corner, but for the last 20 years you’ve been a serious career criminal who has not hesitated to steal property which does not belong to you.’

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