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Friday 10 November 2017, 2:17 PM

Five men who burgled a Co-op store and then tried to evade officers by reaching speeds of 120mph in a getaway pursuit were jailed earlier this week for a total of 23 and a half years.

The group stole thousands of pounds worth of cigarettes and tobacco from the store in Bourton on the Water last December before fleeing in a VW Golf.

On 6 December 2016 Gloucestershire Constabulary were alerted by a security guard that four males wearing balaclavas forced entry into the store.

A traffic officer on patrol nearby saw a Golf with no registration plates drive past which then failed to stop for police. A high speed pursuit followed which lasted for approximately 20 miles where the Golf travelled in excess of 100mph along country lanes.

At one point the Golf stopped and four of the offenders fled before the driver, 39-year-old Lee Thomas of Tuffley Avenue, Gloucester, sped off again before crashing through a fence and into a field and fleeing.

Officers and police dogs searched the surrounding area and discovered ditched clothing which was later used as evidence due to DNA matches.

Alongside Thomas, those jailed are Keiran Maguire, 27 and of Hazelton close, Gloucester, Malachi Headman-Cook, 28 and of Linden close, Brockworth, Thomas Townsley, 27 and of Tuffley Avenue, Gloucester, and Miguel Richards, 27 and of no fixed address.

Telephone tracking was also used to link Headman-Cook, Townsley and Maguire to a burglary at a family run newsagents in Burnham on Sea in Somerset on 2 November last year.

When officers arrived at the scene the rear fire exit door had been forced open with a crowbar and cigarettes estimated to be worth approximately £7,000 were stolen. 

Force Crime Ops Constable Rebecca Clarke said: "I am pleased with the outcome at court, there has been a lot of great police work which has meant that all persons involved in targeting these stores have now received prison sentences. 

"The impact their callous actions can have on the victims and their business is huge and distressing. 

"It was also lucky no-one was killed or seriously injured due to their dangerous attempt at a getaway. Thankfully we managed to track down all of them and we were able to bring them to justice."

Headman-Cook was jailed for seven years after he admitted taking part in both burglaries and was on a deferred sentence for an earlier burglary.

Maguire was jailed for five years and three months after he admitted the Burnham on Sea burglary and was found guilty of the Bourton burglary following a trial.

Townsley was jailed for four years and three months after he admitted taking part in both burglaries.

Richards was sentenced to three years for the Bourton burglary and one year for perverting the course of justice after pleading guilty.

Thomas was jailed for two years for the Bourton on the Water burglary and one year for dangerous driving. He pleaded guilty to both offences.

If you see someone acting suspiciously please call 101, or, if a crime is in progress 999.

You can also report people you suspect of burglary or who handle stolen goods through our new website form:

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