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Ticket machine thief jailed after being caught on CCTV

To Wesley Bristow, smashing up and stealing a car park pay-and-display machine may have seemed like a good idea – but he quickly realised that it was no easy task.

Ticket machine thief jailed after being caught on CCTV

The 25-year-old and another unidentified man struck at the Asda supermarket in Pearson Street, Brierley Hill, around 5.45am on February 23, a judge was told.

Prosecutor Mr Kevin Jones could be precise with the timing because the whole episode was recorded by CCTV cameras, Wolverhampton Crown Court heard.

Monitors watching the film saw the culprits – both wearing hoods in a bid to hide their identity – battle to batter the machine out of the ground.

Their long struggle is captured on film as they finally manage to get it lying on its side on the pavement – but they cannot completely uproot the device because it is tethered by an underground length of cable.

Wesley Bristow

They can be seen pushing and pulling but cannot get it to budge – so they revert to Plan B.

The accomplice struggles to get the machine – weighed down by the near £1,000 worth of coins inside it – upright again. He holds it in position while Bristow leaps behind the wheel of the Peugeot car to turn it into a battering ram.

He successfully smashes into the ticket dispenser, tearing it from its base but also manages to rip part of the bodywork from the car.

Undaunted, the two men try to manhandle the machine into the car. First they try to get it through a window but when that fails, they manage to force it through the passenger door of the car.

They are then seen struggling to shut the door. Finally Bristow accelerates away with sparks flying from underneath the car, which is scraping the ground due to the weight of the stolen haul.

His accomplice is seen climbing into another car with a third man inside and is driven away.

Bristow leaves the scene moments before a police patrol summoned by monitors watching the CCTV footage arrives to give chase.

Wolverhampton Crown Court heard that a mile later, father-of-four Bristow, who had reached up to 55 mph during the pursuit, lost control, demolished a bollard and crashed into a wall in Bull Street.

Mr Jones said: "The machine that contained up to £1,000 was recovered."

The offence caused almost £5,500 worth of damage to the car park.

The prosecution accepted that the defendant committed the crime after being put under pressure over a drug debt by the other two men seen at the scene. The crime broke the terms of a year-long suspended prison sentence imposed on Bristow for drug dealing eight months earlier, the judge was told.

Mr Devon Small, defending, said: "The car he was driving belonged to one of the two men who had threatened violence if he did not steal the ticket machine to repay a drug debt he owed to them."

Mr Jones disclosed: "When he was detained both the mobile phones in his possession were ringing with calls from the same number. Police officers have confirmed that the caller was somebody who would put pressure on people."

Bristow, from Church Road, Oldswinford, who had several previous convictions, admitted theft, criminal damage and dangerous driving along with the breach of a suspended sentence. He was jailed for a total of two years – one year for the offence and a further 12 months for the breached suspended sentence – and banned from driving for two years. Judge Nicholas Webb told him: "The vehicle was in a very dangerous condition and it was only good fortune that you did not lose control at a spot where other people were about."

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