Burglars Hit Waukesha Business Twice In One Night

FIVE burglars crashed twice during a high-speed getaway reaching 120 miles an hour after stealing cigarettes and tobacco from the Co-op store in Bourton on the Water.

Three of the gang had also been involved in a similar shop burglary a month earlier in Burnham on Sea and the sentences passed on them at Gloucester Crown Court also covered that offence.

Judge Jamie Tabor QC heard that in each of the raids the burglars got away with more than £7,000 worth of cigarettes and tobacco last December.

After the Bourton raid, police chased the gang's getaway car, which reached speeds of 120mph and crashed twice.

Although four of the men jumped out of the car and ran off in different directions after the car's first crash they were all arrested thanks to evidence found at the scene by police dogs - and also because of high-tech phone tracking.

In the dock were: Keiran Maguire, 27, of Hazleton Close, Gloucester, Malachi Headman-Cook, 27, of Linden Close, Cooper's Edge, Brockworth, Thomas Townsley, 27, of Tuffley Avenue, Gloucester, Miguel Richards, 27, of no fixed address and Lee Thomas, 39, of Tuffley Avenue, Gloucester.

Headman-Cook, who admitted taking part in both burglaries and was on a deferred sentence for an earlier burglary, was jailed for seven years.

Richards, who took part in the Bourton burglary only but then tried to pervert the course of justice by persuading him to give a false alibi, was sentenced to four years.

Townsley, who took part in both raids, was jailed for four years and three months.

A sentence of 3 years jail was passed on Bourton getaway driver Thomas who admitted that burglary and also pleaded guilty to dangerous driving. He was also banned from driving for three years.

Finally, Maguire, who admitted the Burnham burglary but denied taking part in the Bourton raid - but was convicted by a jury by a 10-2 majority after a trial this week - received a total sentence of five years three months.

Prosecutor Philip Warren said on November 2 last year Colin Morris, owner of GW Hurley's newsagents in Burnham, received a call to say his alarm had gone off. He got to the shop and found it had been broken into and £7,600 worth of tobacco products stolen.

He was not insured for the loss and the business had been badly hit as a result, he said.

Mr Warren said the three burglars - Headman-Cook, Maguire and Townsley - were caught thanks to police being able to track all their mobile phone signals from Gloucester to Burnham and back. Their car number plate was also picked up by automatic recognition machines en route.

The Bourton raid took place on December 6 last year and the five man gang used the same VW Golf car but this time without number plates.

The shop was vulnerable because it had already been raided and the cash machine stolen, Mr Warren said.

A security guard was monitoring the premises, however, and raised the alarm.

About £7,000 worth of cigarettes and tobacco were stolen in the raid.

Police on patrol nearby spotted the car at 1.35am and began following it on the A436.

With Thomas driving, the car reached high speeds, executed dangerous overtaking and undertaking manoeuvres and went through red lights.

In Welch Way, North Cerney, the car went out of control and crashed and the four passengers all jumped out and ran.

Thomas managed to get going again and the chase resumed. At one stage he made a 'near suicidal' undertake of two lorries alongside each other.

He then crashed through a gate and into a field of sheep as he tried to make a turning near Duntisbourne Leer.

Mr Warren said when the men fled the car after the first crash various clothing and other items were thrown away but they were later found by two police dogs, Ringo and Stig, and DNA from the defendants was found on them.

Subsequently Richards contacted his girlfriend and got her to lie for him, saying he had been with her all that night. She has since been jailed for three months for that offence.

Mr Warren said all the men had criminal records.

Headman-Cook had fifteen previous convictions including four for robbery and three for burglary. Richards had 13 convictions, three for robbery, and is currently on parole from a ten year sentence imposed in 2011 for a knife attack.

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