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

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

Police are appealing for information about the distraction burglary in Wellingborough
Police are appealing for information about the distraction burglary in Wellingborough

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.”