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Gang jailed for £500,000 burglary spree
A GANG of crooks, who targeted Basingstoke homes for high-value cars, have been jailed for more than 34 years in total.
The seven criminals stole cars and possessions worth around £500,000 from 30 homes in the south east of England, including four in Basingstoke and five in Hook.
The burglary spree, committed across Hampshire, Berkshire, Hertfordshire, Oxfordshire and Surrey, took place in just over a month, between September 18 and October 28 in 2011.
One car, a £70,000 Audi Q7, taken from the driveway of a house in Solent Drive, Hatch Warren, was later recovered by police in Essen, Germany.
The court heard that in almost every case, members of the gang put tools through letterboxes to open the front doors of houses.
Once inside, the thieves would help themselves to car keys and personal possessions including laptops and digital cameras, before using the keys to drive off in vehicles parked on the driveway.
PC Aidan Jeffery, from the priority crime unit at Basingstoke CID, told The Gazette: “This was a brazen and organised gang of people who committed a series of high-value burglaries across the south of England.
“The offenders stole from hard-working families, many of whom were asleep in their beds when the burglaries took place, which has had a lasting effect on many of the victims.
“The sentences should send out a strong message that this sort of criminality will not be tolerated.”
The gang were sentenced at Winchester Crown Court by Judge Jane Miller after the defendants had pleaded guilty to, or been found guilty of, conspiracy to burgle.
She sentenced Raymond Abraham, 32, of Hounslow, London, to seven years in jail, Lewis Woodbridge, 23, of Feltham, London, to five years and four months, Peter Durman, of Feltham, London, to five years and two months, and Robert Hossain, of Luton, Bedfordshire, to five years.
Ellis Glynne, 20, of Camberley, Surrey, was sentenced to four years in prison, Nicola Stygall, 20, of Stanwell, Middlesex, to four years, and Amy Ellis, 22, of Staines, Middlesex, to three years and 10 months.
Hossain and Stygall were found guilty following a four-week trial at Winchester Crown Court. All the other gang members had pleaded guilty.
The gang targeted three houses in the Hatch Warren and Beggarwood areas of Basingstoke in one night - October 19, 2011 - striking at homes in Wentworth Crescent, Turnberry Drive and Constantine Way. A £42,000 BMW 335 Sport Saloon and a Mazda Sport car were stolen.
The Hook offences took place between October 21 and 26 in Creswell, Athoke Croft and Powlingbroke. The gang stole a £45,000 Range Rover and a VW Golf.
Police have issued crime prevention advice following the sentencing hearing. Graeme Barbour, crime prevention adviser at Hampshire Constabulary, said people who have uPVC doors in particular should ensure they lift the handle and turn the key to deadlock the door.