Gang's crime spree included Fakenham
PUBLISHED: 10:27 28 April 2009 | UPDATED: 10:48 07 July 2010
A gang of burglars smashed their way into convenience stores in Norfolk, including one in Fakenham, as they went on a six-month crime spree which spread across four counties.
A GANG of burglars smashed their way into convenience stores in Norfolk, including one in Fakenham, as they went on a six-month crime spree which spread across four counties.
The raiders from Nottingham stole cars in the city, changed
the plates and used them in
break-ins at stores across
Norfolk, Sussex, Kent and Dorset. They targeted stores belonging to the Co-op, Budgen and Rainbow chains.
The four men responsible were on Monday jailed for up to five years after a court heard how gang members had come straight out of prison only to commit their latest crimes.
Their list of 20 raids included hits in Yarmouth, Holt, Harleston, Fakenham, two in Wisbech and three in South Wootoon.
William Dunbar, 23, Luke Abrahams, 24, and David Marriott, 23, all from Nottingham, admitted the burglary conspiracy at Maidstone Crown Court. Dannie Robinson, 27, from Hucknall admitted burglary.
Two of them had suspended sentences hanging over them but the crime wave carried on. All four had convictions for dangerous driving and were described as 'habitual criminals.'
The raids began in March when raiders used sledgehammers, a circular saw and axes to their way into a Somerfield store in Great Yarmouth.
They specialised in stealing cigarettes and alcohol. They told police afterwards they could get into a building, steal cigarettes inside and be away in five minutes.
The gang would return to some shops several times. They attacked a Rainbow store in King's Lynn three times, smashing their way through newly installed steel shutters.
They hit stores in Harleston and Holt, leaving vital clues behind like rubble bags and crow bars.
They even broke into a car hire firm in Wisbech to steal a truck which they used to carry away their haul from a raid on a near by shop. Truck keys were later
found in Bungay and the truck found in Beccles - miles from their target.
Ian Hope, prosecuting, said the four men were arrested when they attempted to break into a Co-op in Swanage, Dorset.
A remote alarm was triggered and patrolling police saw a BMW racing away from the scene.
Inside were gang members wearing ski masks and balaclavas. The car gave chase and the thieves dumped it in Wareham, six miles away. They were captured after a police helicopter using infra red cameras spotted them.
Shortly after their capture in September, DNA and fingerprint samples taken from them provided links to a string of unsolved store breaks-in.
Dunbar was sent to jail for four years, Marriott for five, including a year for dangerous driving, Abrhams got two years while Robinson was jailed for a year, with another nine months added for breaking a suspended sentence order.
Judge Andrew Patience QC told them: "Each of these offences are of the most grave kind. This was a professionally organised series of crimes. You stole vehicles and deliberately targeted isolated convenience stores, causing damage estimated at over
Afterwards Det Sgt Rob Haines, from Kent police, said: "We were able to convict them after a thorough investigation using
the latest crime detection techniques."