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JAILED: Gang who burgled 42 homes and businesses in Oxfordshire and three other counties

Five men were responsible for stealing over £500,000 worth of items, including luxury cars.

Their crime wav spanned several months, with Bicester and Shrivenham two of the towns targeted by the gang from Cheltenham.

They also caused more than £100,000 worth of damage during the spree between August 2019 and February 2020.

The gang targetted people's homes and businesses, stealing expensive fast cars from driveways - as well as jewellery & priceless possessions.

They netted more than £500,000 worth of loot in total.

Towns raided by the offenders also included Witney and Burford - plus places in Gloucestershire, Wiltshire and Berkshire.

This week, the men were jailed for a total of 37 years and four months between them.

A sixth gang member, who stored stolen cash and jewellery for them, was jailed for thirteen months but will be released immediately having already served his time while in remand in custody.

At Bristol Crown Court, Judge Michael Cullum commended two police officers and a civilian colleague for their work investigating the case which, he said, would have produced 'dozens of ringbinders' full of paperwork in a pre-digital age.

The defendants were:

  • David Benyon, 32 of Dinas Road, Cheltenham; 
  • Josh Brammer, 26, Clarke Way, Cheltenham; 
  • Sonny Curran, 32, Clevedon Square, Cheltenham; 
  • Jason Hawkins, 28, of Shurdington Road, Cheltenham; 
  • Ryan McCormick, 35, of Clyde Crescent, Cheltenham; and 
  • Max Smith, 28, of Ruby Avenue, Bishops Cleeve

All but Hawkins admitted two charges of conspiracy to burgle, one charge of conspiracy to steal and an additional burglary charge.

All defendants, including Hawkins, also pleaded guilty to transferring criminal property.

Curran, Smith, McCormick and Benyon further admitted an additional burglary charge.

The court was told that Hawkins had a lesser role in the conspiracy because he played no physical part in the burglaries - but he was always in the same area when a crime was being committed by other members of the gang. A large amount of stolen jewellery and cash was found at his home address. 

"The gang of men worked together at different times and were involved in at least 42 burglaries in Gloucestershire and the Thames Valley police area between August 2019 and February 2020," said the prosecutor, Robin Shellard.

"The investigation revealed that the gang were involved in the theft of high powered cars following a burglary of the targeted homes and the subsequent theft of the keys from the property.

"Additionally, on one occasion, an innocent man was assaulted after trying to intervene during one commercial burglary.

"A large amount of mobile telephone investigation was involved along with the use of automatic number plate recognition cameras to establish the whereabouts of the defendants at any particular time and the location of stolen vehicles.

"The estimated cost of the offending is £616, 650. This is made up of the loss of items £508,000 and the damage caused to property amounted to £107,000.

"These figures do not include the business interruption costs. One of the burglaries was of a Post Office which suffered a loss of income of some £50,000 due to the damage done to the property.

"For some of the victims of the commercial burglaries the loss was too much to bear and they went out of business."

 

The total value of the stolen vehicles was around £238,471 with most of the high-end cars being recovered - although in many instances they were damaged.

Mahan Mann, defending Benyon, said his client had shown significant remorse and now realised the impact the burglaries had on the victims. 

Lloyd Jenkins, for Smith, said he was a family man with no similar previous convictions. He had got caught up in the burglaries as a means to pay for his drug addiction. 

James Tucker, represenring Brammer, Curran and McCormick, said they were all family men with children and in hindsight they had shown significant remorse having realised the impact of being burgled on the victims. 

Sarah Jenkins, for Hawkins, said he was of previous good character and had played only a limited role in the offending.

Beynon was sentenced to eight years and four months; Curran received a prison term of seven years and six months; Brammer and Smith were jailed for seven years while McCormick received a custodial sentence of seven years and four months.

Hawkins was sentenced to a prison term of one year and one month and was told that because of time served on remand he would be immediately released in custody.

All defendants now face a proceeds of crime hearing on July 13 next year when the court will assess what assets they have that can be confiscated from them.

Among the burglaries attributed to the gang were: 

Nine burglaries in the Oxfordshire area between November 3 and 7. These burglaries are linked to the gang through mobile phone cell location evidence. The burglaries including a property at Church Lane, Weston On The Green, Bicester, in which items of jewellery were stolen and a property nearby was broken into and jewellery of several hundreds of pounds were stolen. 

A property in Charlbury, Chipping Norton was also targeted. The elderly owners returned on November 5 to find that their sentimental jewellery had been stolen. The gang went on to target a property in Lees Heights,  in the same village, where gang members gained entry and stole £400 in cash. 

In the village of Stonesfield, five miles north of Witney, the gang smashed their way in and stole £1,300 worth of jewellery

In the same village another house was burgled and the gang stole the keys to a Nissan Navara and drove away in the £20,000 vehicle.

On December 10, 2019 four or five members of the gang targeted an antique shop in George Street, Burford at around 10.30pm. Witnesses saw two men balaclavas shouting at members of the public and carrying silverware back to their vehicle before driving off. The shop was a collection of independent traders who rented stalls in the shop. One trader lost £4,000 in the raid.

 

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