A BURGLARY gang broke in to a Mencap charity shop in Hemel Hempstead, as well as Sussex University near Brighton a barber’s at Ludlow in Shropshire and the Herts Bowling Club in Watford, a court heard.
A total of £2,300 worth of property was taken from the Mencap shop when a side window was broken to gain entry. Items taken included four laptops, a projector and a bottle of Champagne that was going to be used in a prize draw.
At Sussex University a safe, worth £1,000, and containing £400 was snatched and £350 worth of damage was caused
Mark Butler, 18, from Liverpool, was linked to those two break-ins by his DNA at the Mencap shop and footwear and mobile phone evidence in Sussex, said prosecutor Andrea Scott Lynch.
Butler was also involved in the other two burglaries with Charlie Hindley from Hemel Hempstead.
They broke into the Ludlow Barber’s Shop in Ludlow and took £220 from the till. They were caught on CCTV. They also stole trophies from the Herts Bowling Club in Watford.
Both men were arrested on February 1 this year and made no comment to police questions.
At St Albans Crown Court on Thursday (June 28) Hindley, 21, of Thriftfield, Hemel Hempstead, and Butler, 18, of July Road, Liverpool, appeared for sentence having pleaded guilty to conspiracy to burgle between January 4 and February 2 this year.
Hindley had nine previous burglary convictions and one for robbery. Butler had nine previous burglary convictions.
Carl Woolf, defending, said the burglaries were planned by Mark Butler’s uncle John, who is now on the Choices and Consequences Programme, which aims to stop drug addicts offending by getting them to kick their habit. He said both men had already spent the equivalent of a 10 month sentence and had shown a willingness to get off drugs themselves.
Judge Andrew Bright QC told them: “It was a sophisticated and nationwide operation. These were not opportunist burglars it is a serious matter.”
He sentenced Butler to 21 months in a Young Offenders’ Institute and Hindley to 15 months.