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Black Country hole-in-the-wall gang stole £60k of motorbikes

By Andrew Morris | Crime | Published:

Three members of a hole-in-the-wall gang were jailed after a court heard how they stole motorcycles valued at some £60,000 from a business.

The court heard the men, all from the Black Country, stole a Ford Transit van from Charlies Stores in Newtown, Mid Wales, and then cut two holes in the brick wall of the Freestyle Motorcycle store.

They had taken motorcycles, helmets and gloves back to Wolverhampton in the stolen van but were stopped by police when they were making a second trip with another load.

Judge Niclas Parry jailed two of the three and described it as ‘a professional, sophisticated burglary’ of commercial premises. It involved a gang travelling from the West Midlands to strike at businesses in rural Wales, he said.

“You began by breaking into business premises and stealing a van for the purpose of carrying out a sophisticated burglary,” he said.

They then targeted premises for high value goods, Mold Crown Court was told.

“You were very well equipped, not only with the van, but with tools that enabled you to break through the wall of the premises,” Judge Parry said.

“Property valued at £60,000 was taken – £39,000 worth remains outstanding,” said Judge Parry.

Defendant Craig Everit, 38, of Bilston, who appeared at court via a live link from HMP Birmingham, was jailed for 33 months for the burglary – with an additional 24 weeks activated from a previously suspended sentence.

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Roger Rogers, 40, of Mervyn Road, Bradley, Wolverhampton, was jailed for 21 months.

Teenager Mark Selwood, 18, of Tipton, was placed on a 12 month community order with a three month curfew to remain indoors between 6pm and 6am.

They admitted burglary, criminal damage and taking a vehicle without consent.

Prosecuting barrister Mr James Coutts said that at 2.48am on January 2 the police were called to the activation of an alarm at Freestyle, a unit on the St Giles Industrial estate in Newtown, which sold motorcycles and quad bikes.

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When they arrived it was apparent that on two sides of the building large holes had been made in the exterior wall – allowing free access. A number of vehicles had been taken from inside.

Police found a Transit van which had been stolen from Charlies Stores driving about nine miles away from Newtown – and another vehicle travelling with appeared to be trying to block the officer’s attempts to get to the van. Two men got out and ran away.

Sellwood, the front seat passenger, was arrested and was found to have a mask in his pocket.

The Tranist contained six motorcycles and a number of helmets.

Selwood said he was bullied into it, didn’t know the van was stolen and had been told to act as a look out.

Police established the van had been stolen from Charlies Stores after the perimeter fence was cut open and cowling underneath the steering wheel removed.

It had a tracker which showed it had been driven to the Freestyle company and then travelled to Wolverhampton.

But it then immediately returned for a second entry into the premises to collect more motorcycles.

Mr Coutts said it was stopped by police during the second journey back to Wolverhanmpton.

Phones and computers were seized which showed research into the sale of motorbikes and parts had been made.

Wyn Vaughan Hughes, who ran the Freestyle company with his wife, said in a victim impact statement read to the court that the burglary had devastated them and had a massive impact on the business.

Ms Sarah Badrawy, for Everit, said he was very realistic and knew it had to be custody. Miss Badrawy said that Rogers at the time had been focused on his own financial difficulties and had since had time to reflect.

Andrew Morris

By Andrew Morris
Content Manager - @AndyMorrisStar

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