Crime spree gang jailed

PUBLISHED: 12:34 27 June 2014

Archant

A gang of burglars have been jailed after they went on an all-night crime spree across East Devon - breaking into the home of a Honiton couple whilst they slept.

The three men drove from Kent and sought out soft targets within easy reach of the main road network before heading home in the early hours in a car full of loot.

They were intercepted by police after they carried out one final raid on a service station at Stonehenge on their way home.

The men broke into a village shop near Ottery St Mary, the town’s football club, a garage in Fenny Bridges and a family home in Honiton where the owners were asleep upstairs.

The raiders took wedding and engagement rings, cash, tools, cigarettes and even cartons of washing powder, most of which were found by police when they were stopped on the A303 near Andover.

Riley Scamp, 20, of Green Street, Dartford, Luke Stewart-Day, 26, of Hartley, Longfield, and Alfred Rye, 22, of Hill Rise, Darenth, all admitted seven burglaries and were all jailed for three years by Judge Francis Gilbert, QC, at Exeter Crown Court.

He told them: “You three all travelled to the West Country for the purpose of committing burglaries at night. The domestic burglary caused greater harm because you took rings which were of sentimental value.

“Your culpability is greater because you came down equipped for burglary and all three were acting together and have previous convictions for burglary.”

Miss Janice Eagles, prosecuting, said the men drove from Kent in a car belonging to Stewart-Day’s girlfriend and spent the night of September 9 last year raiding homes and businesses in East Devon.

They started by stealing tools from two garages in Fenny Bridges and moved on to the Alfington Stores near Ottery St Mary where they stole tobacco and washing powder.

Miss Eagles said the owner was distressed by the raid because she had lost property in a previous burglary and the two crimes had affected her business.

The gang next burgled the home of Raymond Cleal in Joslin Way, Honiton, as he slept upstairs with his wife. They entered and left through a side door and took wedding and engagement rings, cash, phones and an iPad.

They also broke into Mr Cleal’s van, which was parked outside, stealing tools and cash worth £1,000 before moving to Ottery St Mary Football Club where they stole alcohol, tobacco and a large screen television.

Miss Eagles said the gang’s car had already aroused suspicion and police were looking for it before they carried out their final raid at Winterbourne Stoke, near Stonehenge, where they stole drinks and alcohol from a service station shop.

Mr James Taghdissian, defending, said the men had come to Devon to commit crime but had not targeted the victims deliberately or sought to cause unnecessary damage.

He said: “It was a spree of opportunistic burglaries having come down to this area rather than anything targeted or organised.”

He said all three are keen to turn their lives around in jail.

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