September 2 2014 Latest news:
Thursday, April 24, 2014
Three men who were part of an organised crime group which carried out a spate of burglaries at business premises across East Anglia have been given jail sentences totalling more than 14 years.
During five months the gang targeted vulnerable small businesses in rural locations, stole cash and cigarettes, and caused damage running into thousands of pounds, Ipswich Crown Court heard.
On November 3 last year a stolen 4x4 vehicle was reversed at speed into the front of the Broadway Stores and Post Office at Glemsford near Sudbury, causing £15,000 damage, said Peter Gair, prosecuting.
Straps which had been stolen from a crane company near Ipswich were looped over a free-standing ATM (Automated Teller Machine) and attached to a vehicle which attempted to pull it out of the damaged building. However the machine was empty.
Other burglaries were committed at the Mace Store and Post Office in Peasenhall; the Barn Brasserie at Great Tey, near Colchester; an industrial unit in the Teybrook Centre, Great Tey; and Sam’s Local Shopper and Post Office at Pulham Market.
Before the court were Alan Loveridge, 47, of Great Cornard; Steven Allum, 27, of Debenham; and Michael Smith, 29, of Mill Lane, Ellingham, who all admitted conspiracy to burgle.
Jailing Loveridge for five years, Allum for four years and Smith for five years and six months, Recorder Gerard Pounder said small businesses which could not afford the same degree of security as larger stores had been targeted.
The court heard the three defendants accepted they were part of an organised crime group and had performed specific roles in the conspiracy.
The burglary at Pulham Market took place on November 7 and cash, stamps and cigarettes worth £4,500 were stolen while damage valued at £7,000 was caused to the premises.
Jonathan Rosen for Loveridge, who was involved in the Pulham Market burglary, said his client had been addicted to heroin but had now kicked the habit.
Christopher Paxton for Allum said his client had not been present at any of the raids but had been involved in obtaining stolen number plates for a vehicle used in one of the burglaries.
Roger Thomson for Smith said his client had been involved in the Glemsford ram raid and the theft of straps that were used to pull out the ATM.