By Christine Cunningham
Tuesday, December 11, 2012
Members of a gang which targeted a Norfolk shop, making off with a haul worth nearly £15,000, have been jailed for a total of more than 10 years.
The criminals, from the London area, struck at a Co-op store in Hopton, stealing cigarettes, tobacco and stamps worth £10,500 and two safes containing £4,400.
One of the gang, Mark Douglas, 33, also carried out an earlier burglary on another Co-op store, in Martham, in which £11,600 of cigarettes and tobacco, more than £700 in cash and other items worth nearly £400 were stolen.
Norwich Crown Court heard yesterday how they tampered with the alarm system earlier in the day and then broke in that night.
A BMW car used by one of the gang was found to have the locations of a number of Co-op stores in the area put into its sat-nav system and the judge described the raids as “planned and organised”.
Lori Tucker, prosecuting, said that the gang was captured following the break-in at the Co-op store in Lowestoft Road, Hopton, in June after police were called to investigate an assault at the Haven holiday park, in Great Yarmouth, and by chance discovered the haul of cigarettes taken in the raid as the gang had all been staying at the holiday park for the weekend.
Mrs Tucker said that a safe taken in the break-in was found in the back of a van belonging to one of the gang and another was later found in Caister along with the hard drive from the store’s security camera.
Douglas, of Longmead, Hatfield, admitted the burglary at Hopton and also an earlier burglary in April, at the Co-op store, in Martham, and he was jailed for four years.
Dimitri Dontas, 23, of Boreham Wood; David Ricketts, 44, of West Drayton; and Declan Purcell, 24, of Longmead, Hatfield all were jailed for two years for the their part in the burglary at Hopton. Barry Penrose, 23, of Edgware, Middlesex, got 15 months for handling stolen goods from the burglary and assault causing actual bodily harm.
Ian Henderson, for Douglas said that after his business which he started when he came out of prison failed, he had allowed himself to be involved in the burglary to get money.
Danielle O’Donovan, for Ricketts, said that he had also been in financial dire straits and had agreed to be involved. Bill Ryan, for Dontas, said that he had no planned intention of getting involved in any criminal enterprise.
Molly Pinkus, for Purcell, said that he had acted as a lookout and had not taken part in the burglary and Tony Ventham, for Penrose, said that he knew nothing about the burglary but had agreed to help break into the safe for £50.