What the defence said before burglary gang were jailed for more than 70 years

The nine men who have been found guilty of conspiracy to burgle. Picture: Cambridgeshire Police

The nine men who have been found guilty of conspiracy to burgle. Picture: Cambridgeshire Police - Credit: Archant

Members of an organised crime gang involved in more than 200 burglaries across the East of England have been jailed for a total of more than 70 years.

Simon Oakley. PIC: Staff photographer

Simon Oakley. PIC: Staff photographer - Credit: Archant

Twelve members of the gang appeared at Norwich Crown Court on Thursday (December 6) to be sentenced for conspiracy to commit burglary of both homes and businesses between February to December last year across Norfolk, Suffolk, Cambridgeshire and Essex.

MORE: Judge jails gang responsible for more than 200 burglaries across East Anglia to more than 70 years in prison

Nine of the gang, mostly family members, had all pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit burglary.

Three other gang members were found guilty of handling stolen goods during a trial which finished at Norwich Crown Court last month.

Thomas Pateman. Picture: Staff photographer

Thomas Pateman. Picture: Staff photographer - Credit: Archant

Jonathan Morgans, mitigating for John Eli Loveridge, said the defendant was a serving prisoner for most of the offences and was only involved 'towards the end of this conspiracy'.

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He said: 'It's a very short period of time in the context of this indictment and for a very few offences.'

Jude Durr, mitigating for John Stanley Loveridge, said his client's strongest piece of mitigation should be his credit for plea.

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He said: 'This young man is willing to face the music and recognised that he's still got a lot of work to do to turn his life around.'

James Pateman. Picture: Staff photographer

James Pateman. Picture: Staff photographer - Credit: Archant

Jamil Mohammed, for Charlie Webb, said he was otherwise of good character but had got his girlfriend pregnant and got involved in the conspiracy because 'desperate times meant desperate measures'.

Isobel Ascherson, for Tim and Daniel Stone Parker, said both had admitted their guilt in terms of the conspiracy and the planning. She said both had expressed their remorse and regret.

Hugh Vass, for Joe John Loveridge, said his client was 'the youngest' involved in the conspiracy but had pleaded guilty to the offences.

He said he had been taking alcohol and cocaine at the time which was why he got involved.

Peter Hunter, for Joseph Holmes, said he had got involved due to a drugs debt and had lost a cousin.

He said he was in 'freefall' at just 20 years of age.

Dan Taylor, for Johnny and Richard Oakley, said their involvement was 'limited to around four weeks' and they had played a 'lesser role' in the conspiracy.

He said that Johnny, who had been of previous good character, was addicted to drugs, alcohol and gambling and got involved to 'fund that addiction' while Richard 'fell off the rails' following difficulties and had problems with drugs and alcohol.

Michael Clare, for Simon Oakley, said although the prosecution asserted he was at the highest end of the conspiracy his culpability was no more than providing false number plates.

Ian James, mitigating for Thomas Pateman, said his client was convicted of handling and it would be wrong to sentence him in respect of the conspiracy.

Mark Roochove, for James Pateman, said this defendant had 'many dependants' including his father who had cancer and has suffered heart attacks and had a son with Down's syndrome.

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