Gang of four jailed for stealing cigarettes worth more than £10,000

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A man from Sandy is among a gang of four jailed for conspiracy to burgle a number of convenience stores, including one in Bromham.

Bobby-Joe Stanley, who lives in West Lane, was involved with John Stanley, Billy Foster and Wayne Loveridge in the theft of more than £10,000 pounds worth of cigarettes from stores during a three-week spree in April 2014.

Northampton Crown Court heard one store owner was awoken by a noise and went downstairs to find a group of men wearing balaclavas filling up empty bins with packets of cigarettes.

He was threatened with a sledgehammer by one of the burglars.

Another Co-op in Croughton was then targeted shortly afterwards, and this time the gang of four attached an industrial-strength strap to the cash machine then connected it to a 4x4 vehicle.

They then attempted to pull the cash machine out of the shop but were unsuccessful, the court heard.

A week later they struck again at a Co-op in Brixworth, but failed to gain entry and drove away.

Later the same night, the undefeated thieves managed to broke into the One Stop Shop in Olney and stole a large amount of cigarettes, valued at more than £6,000.

Hours later they targeted Budgens in Bromham, stealing more than £1,700 worth of cigarettes.

All four men pleaded guilty to conspiracy to burgle. Loveridge and Foster admitted taking part in the burglary in Croughton and Bobby-Joe Stanley and John Stanley pleaded guilty to offences in Brixworth, Olney and Bromham.

Her Honour Judge Lucking said the burglaries were “professionally organised crimes”

She said: “The premises attacked were vulnerable, smaller stores that played a valuable role in their communities. The damage caused to the stores and the subsequent disruption to the community was significant.”

Loveridge, Foster and Bobby-Joe Stanley were all sentenced to four years in jail while John Stanley was sentenced to five years.

Detective Constable Alex O’Meara, from the Organised Crime and Drugs Team, said: “We’re extremely pleased with the sentences handed down today. This is yet another firm message to those intending to commit crime in Northamptonshire and a reminder that our investigations are not obstructed by county borders.

“The team will continue to work tirelessly to robustly tackle cross-border crime.”