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Ex-PCSO loses appeal for cut in jail sentence
9:00am Friday 4th October 2013 in News
A FORMER Police Community Support Officer, jailed for trying to steal “significant amounts of money” from garage cash machines, has failed to win a cut in his sentence.
Gary Bryan Slater, 22, of Weller Drive, Camberley, Surrey, suffered a “big fall from grace” when he plotted to raid petrol stations in Weyhill and Andover last year.
The ex-PCSO was jailed for 15 months at Winchester Crown Court in Julyafter he admitted two counts of attempted theft, two of stealing registration plates and one of going equipped for theft.
Three senior judges at London’s Appeal Court rejected a bid by Slater to have his sentence cut, saying his “serious offences” called for a stiff punishment.
Mr Justice Lewis said Slater stole licence plates from a car to disguise his grey Ford Focus before driving to a petrol station in Andover in August, 2012. There he caused £500-worth of damage in a failed bid to raid a cash machine.
In the same month, he snatched a set of licence plates from a Salisbury fuel stop, before heading to another garage and wreaking £1,500 of damage in a further failed ATM smash-and-grab.
Then, in November, police stopped Slater and another man acting suspiciously at a fueling station in Hook. In their vehicle, officers found balaclavas, gloves and a satnav pre-programmed with locations of garages in the Weyhillarea.
Slater had previously received a community order for two counts of stealing registration plates with eight other offences taken into consideration.
His barrister, Simon Stirling, argued that the offences for which he was sentenced at the Crown Court were part of the same course of criminality.
Mr Stirling contended that Slater had therefore already served part of his punishment for the overall offending and the 15-month jail term was, as a result, “manifestly excessive”.
But Mr Justice Lewis concluded: “The offending behaviour involved planned attempts to steal significant amounts of money from cash machines and going equipped for theft.
“In our judgment, the sentence imposed was not manifestly excessive.”
The appeal judge, however, went on to quash an order that Slater be deprived of the £3,500 car he used in the offences.