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Cheltenham men stole more than half a million pounds of property, including luxury cars

Six Cheltenham men stole more than half a million pounds of property, including several luxury cars, in a seven-month burglary in four counties, according to a court hearing yesterday (December 6).

The gang’s raids on at least 24 homes and businesses lasted from August 2019 to February of this year, and targets were often chosen because owners left high-quality new cars like Porsches and Mercedes parked outside, Bristol Crown Court was told.

Prosecutor Robin Shellard said homes and businesses, including a Cotswolds post office, had been targeted in Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire, Wiltshire and Berkshire. Towns and villages hit by the gang were Tewkesbury, Bourton-on-the-Water, Tetbury, Bicester, Hungerford, Swindon, Witney, Chippenham and Burford.

The six defendants, who will be sentenced at the end of a three-day hearing on Wednesday (December 8), were arrested in March 2020 after a joint investigation by the two police forces that culminated in eight addresses in Cheltenham that were searched and searched at the same time, prosecutor said Robin Shellard.

The six guilty men in the dock are:

David Benyon, 32 from 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.

They admit that between August 2019 and February 2020 they conspired to break into business premises with theft intention and in a conspiracy with others to enter homes as intruders with theft intention.

The court was told that Hawkins played a lesser role in the conspiracy as he had no physical role in the break-ins – but he was always in the same area whenever a crime was committed by other members of the gang. A large amount of stolen jewelry and cash was found at his home address.

The prosecutor said: “The gang of men have worked together at different times and were involved in at least 24 break-ins in Gloucestershire and the Thames Valley Police Department in August 2019 and February 2020.”

“The investigation found that the gang was involved in the theft of high-performance cars after breaking into the targeted homes and stealing keys from the property.

“Also, an innocent man was attacked once after trying to intervene in a commercial break-in.

“Other items stolen in the break-ins were jewelry and high quality watches that were later resold in the Jewelery Quarter in Birmingham.

“In order to determine the whereabouts of the defendants at a certain point in time and the location of stolen vehicles, extensive cell phone investigations and the use of cameras for automatic license plate recognition were necessary.

“The estimated cost of the offense is £ 616,650. Combined with the loss of property of £ 508,000 and property damage of £ 107,000.

“These figures do not include business interruption costs. One of the break-ins was at a post office, which suffered approximately £ 50,000 loss of income due to the property damage.

“For some of the victims of the commercial break-ins, the loss was too great and they had to go out of business.

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

Among the break-ins attributed to the gang were:

Butwell and Jones jewelers on Tewkesbury High Street targeted at 3:50 a.m. on August 10, 2019.

Shellard said CCTV captured three masked men who arrived in a stolen Volkswagen Golf and punched their way in with a scaffolding board. The gang stole a large number of antiques and removed the safe from the premises. But just as it was being placed in the back of the vehicle, the police arrived at the scene and the safe fell out as the gang sped away.

The attempted battering ram raided the Bourton on the Water Post Office on August 29, 2019 between 1:40 and 1:48 a.m. with two vehicles, one of which was a stolen Mitsubishi truck. The shopkeepers lived in an apartment above the post office and were badly affected by the incident, Shellard said.

He said, “The shopkeeper heard the shop get rammed twice and when she looked out the window she saw five or six men, one of whom was armed with a pickaxe.”

A new £ 28,000 Volkswagen Golf was stolen from property on Havenhill Road, Tetbury on August 29, 2019. The vehicle’s keys were stolen in a break-in when gang members broke a rear window and broke in.

The vehicle was later recovered on November 7, 2019 and until then had a wrong license plate. The car also contained a number of items from a series of break-ins at Old Railway Close in Lechlade and Bicester in Oxfordshire, as well as tools such as a crowbar.

On September 24, 2019, a house on Squires Road, Watchfield, near Shrivenham, Wiltshire, was broken into after gang members severed the cables to the CCTV camera. Among the items stolen were designer handbags, bracelets, necklaces, watches, golf clubs, cash and the keys to a new Ford Ranger Wildtrak that was driven out by one of the crooks – although a Mercedes was left behind.

The stolen Ford was subsequently recovered from the Gloucester Old Spot Public House on Tewkesbury Rd, Cheltenham on February 24, 2020. The gang ransacked the messy house and stole £ 3,600 worth of jewelry and other items.

On October 10, 2019, the gang broke into a number of properties in Hungerford but were denied entry to Great Grooms Antiques on Charnham Street.

On October 13, 2019, there was a break-in at the auction house Kidson-Trigg in Sevenhampton, Swindon at 9:15 p.m. Three doors were broken into by the gang to gain entry and £ 11,000 worth of jewelry was stolen. The property damage amounted to € 3,000.

On November 2, 2019, there was a break-in at Old Railway Close in Lechlade, in which the gang gained access by smashing the kitchen door. CCTV showed two men arriving in a stolen VW Golf at 5:15 p.m. and taking away £ 10,000 worth of property, many of which were of great sentimental value, the prosecutor said.

An American high-performance Saleen S7 sports car was on the drive, but the keys to it were hidden and could not be found by the burglars.

On the same day (November 2), at 8:40 p.m., the gang targeted property in Windrush, Highworth, Swindon. They broke into a house where the owner confronted them and was attacked. He chased them out of the property and tried to open the door of his Skoda Octavia car as they sped away. The vehicle contained over £ 2,000 in work items.

The vehicle was recovered from All Saints Road in Cheltenham with false license plates.

Nine break-ins were reported in the Oxfordshire area between November 3rd and 7th. These break-ins are linked to the gang through cell phone location evidence. The break-ins also included property in Church Lane, Weston-on-the-Green, Bicester, which stole jewelry, broke into nearby property and stole hundreds of pounds of jewelry.

A property in Charlbury, Chipping Norton, was also targeted. The older owners returned on November 5th and found that their sentimental jewelry had been stolen. The gang then targeted property in Lees Heights in the same village, where gang members were allowed in and stole £ 400 in cash.

In the village of Stonesfield, five miles north of Witney, the gang entered and stole £ 1,300 worth of jewelry

Another house was broken into in the same village and the gang stole the keys to a Nissan Navara and drove away in the £ 20,000 vehicle.

At around 3:30 p.m. on November 14, 2019, the gang broke into Longtree Close, Tetbury and stole keys to a £ 25,000 Audi Quattro along with £ 500 worth of jewelry and £ 240 in cash. The vehicle was not recovered.

The Wessex auction rooms near Chippenham were targeted by the gang at around 8 p.m. on December 5, 2019 when the security guard was confronted by three men wearing balaclavas. One of the gang slammed his way in with a fire extinguisher and sprayed the guard with the foam.

The gang ran off with jewelry worth about £ 60,000.

On December 10, 2019, around 10:30 p.m., four or five members of the gang took aim at an antique shop on George Street, Burford. Witnesses saw two men in balaclavas yelling at the public and carrying cutlery to their vehicle before driving off. The store was a collection of independent dealers who rented stands in the store. A trader lost £ 4,000 in the raid.

On December 28, a property in Fairfields, Swindon was attacked by the gang and the following day another property in nearby Elm Drive was entered and £ 7,000 worth of jewelry and other items, including wedding rings and diamond necklaces, were stolen.

The year ended on December 31 with the gang moving into a house in Tweed Close, Swindon. The car keys were found and the occupant’s Mini was stolen from the driveway. CCTV revealed that the three perpetrators had driven away in it.

The hearing continues today (December 7th) with Judge Michael Cullum heard by attorneys representing each of the six gangsters. The judge is expected to pass judgment on the gang tomorrow (December 8th).


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