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Eight men jailed for conspiracy to burgle businesses
3:02pm Tuesday 12th March 2013 in News
EIGHT men have been jailed for break-ins at nearly 40 commercial premises, including one in Hereford.
West Mercia Police launched an investigation after burglaries at business premises, mainly golf clubs and garden centres, in which thousands of pounds of cash and goods were stolen.
Also targetted was Wyevale Garden Centre, where cash and vouchers worth almost £23,000 were stolen.
Terry Hodgkins, 36, of Whittall Drive East, Kidderminster, Jamie Worrall, 26 of Masons Close, Halesowen, Jordan Taylor, 22, of Beecher Road, Halesowen, and Andrew Sadler, 26, from Dunlin Drive, Kidderminster were all sentenced at Hereford Crown Court on Monday, (March 11).
Also sentenced were Michael Cope, 25, from Woodbury Road, Kidderminster, Neil Davis, 42, from Bewdley Road, Stourport, Mark Wilson, also 42, from Birchfield Road, Kidderminster, and Timothy Smith, 21, from Truro Drive, Kidderminster. All admitted conspiracy to burgle at various locations between June 2011 and July 2012.
Taylor also admitted stealing two reels of telecommunications cable in Kingswinford, in August 2012.
Hodgkins, Sadler and Worrall were each given six-year terms, Smith was given three and-a-half years and Wilson received three years.
Davis was jailed for two years while Taylor was handed a 30-month term and Cope was given 18 months.
The men were arrested following West Mercia Police’s investigation; Operation Mask.
The gang targeted premises, cutting phone lines to disable the connection to the alarm company.
Alarms went off but when a security guard arrived it appeared everything was in order.
After resetting the alarm the guard would leave, unaware offenders were hiding, preparing to break-in.
The gang damaged CCTV cameras, or pointed them in the other direction, while carrying out the burglaries.
Among the premises targeted were Little Heath Garden Centre, from which furniture, other goods and cash totalling more than £8,000 were stolen, and Burcot Garden Centre, from which almost £5,000 was stolen.
Businesses in Worcester, Evesham, Kidderminster, and Tenbury were also hit, and BT suffered substantial losses.
Detective Constable Phillipa Metcalfe of West Mercia Police said: “The operation was masterminded by Hodgkins and involved a group of experienced criminals.
"While it was a sophisticated operation, the defendants became greedy and overconfident, which ultimately led to their downfall.
“We hope the result will act as deterrent to other offenders, who wrongly think that commercial burglaries are victimless crimes.”