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Wyre Forest burglary gang men jailed
11:21am Tuesday 12th March 2013 in News
SIX Wyre Forest men were among a "greedy" gang jailed in connection with break-ins at nearly 40 commercial premises across the Midlands.
The "experienced" criminals stole many thousands of pounds worth of cash and goods from businesses - mainly golf clubs and garden centres.
Terry Hodgkins, 36, of Whittall Drive East, Kidderminster, Andrew Sadler, 26, of Dunlin Drive, Kidderminster, Michael Cope, 25, of Woodbury Road, Kidderminster, Neil Davis, 42, of, Bewdley Road, Stourport, Mark Wilson, also 42, from Birchfield Road, Kidderminster, Timothy Smith, 21, from Truro Drive, Kidderminster, Jamie Worrall, 26 of Masons Close, Halesowen and Jordan Taylor, 22, of Beecher Road, Halesowen, all admitted conspiracy to burgle at various locations nationally between June 2011 and July 2012.
Taylor also admitted stealing two reels of telecommunications cable from Sherborne Homes Ltd at Kingswinford in August 2012.
They were sentenced at Hereford Crown Court yesterday.
Hodgkins, Sadler and Worrall were each given six-year terms, Smith was given three and-a-half years and Wilson received three years. Davis was jailed for two years while Taylor was handed a 30-month term and Cope was given 18 months.
The men were arrested following an investigation led by West Mercia Police, odename Operation Mask.
The gang would target premises and cut the phone lines to disable the connection to the alarm company.
This caused the alarm to sound, but when a keyholder or security guard arrived it appeared everything was in order and they would reset the alarm and leave, unaware the offenders were hiding nearby.
The gang would then break in, and although the alarms sounded, the alarm company was either not aware or simply thought there was a fault.
The gang, who were wearing balaclavas and gloves, damaged CCTV cameras or pointed them in the other direction while they carried out the burglaries. They usually made straight for the safes.
The premises targeted were in locations including Kidderminster, Bromsgrove, Clent, Ombersley, Worcester, Evesham and Tenbury.
They also targeted Bridgnorth, Alveley, Ludlow, Cleobury Mortimer, Hereford and Leominster , Tewkesbury, Penkridge, Dudley Stratford-upon-Avon and Stoneleigh and Penwortham, lancashire.
They included Leading Labels in Evesham, from which clothing and cash worth more than £17,000 was stolen, Little Heath Garden Centre in Bromsgrove, from which furniture, other goods and cash totalling more than £8,000 were stolen, Burcot Garden Centre in Bromsgrove, from which almost £5,000 was stolen and Barnett Hill Garden Centre in Clent, from which £28,000 was taken.
A total of £34,000 was taken from Harry Tuffins store in Cleobury Mortimer, Stratford Oaks Golf Club from which more than £12,000 was stolen, and Wyevale Garden Centre and its in-store concession The Works book store in Hereford, where cash and vouchers worth almost £23,000 were stolen.
At Ombersley Golf Club nothing was stolen but more than £20,000 worth of damage was caused. BT also suffered substantial losses.
Detective Constable Phillipa Metcalfe of West Mercia Police said: “The operation was masterminded by Hodgkins and involved a group of experienced criminals.
"While it was a sophisticated operation, the defendants became greedy and confident, which ultimately led to their downfall.
“This was a long and complicated operation, involving a great deal of liaison between West Mercia Police and a number of different forces, and we hope the result will act as deterrent to other offenders, who wrongly think that commercial burglaries are victimless crimes, and that they are treated less seriously than domestic burglaries.”