Men sentenced after ram raids and high-value burglary spree
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Two Cheltenham men who committed numerous burglaries in order to steal £340,000 worth of high-value cars have been jailed for a combined 15 years.
The crime spree, which spanned three months, saw the pair commit two ram raids and a large series of burglaries in Gloucestershire.
They stole expensive cars, keys, number plates and sentimental items.
Some of the stolen cars were later used for other burglaries, while others were sold on in the West Midlands area and broken down for parts to be sold.
Eric Pearce, 25 and Matthew Jones, 26, were arrested following an investigation by a specialist team of officers who combat serious criminality.
Videos retrieved from mobile phones showed how the pair filmed themselves inside the stolen vehicles, showing off about what they had stolen.
A number of the stolen vehicles were located and recovered by police, however five remain outstanding - these include BMWs and a Volkswagen.
Pearce, of Pates Avenue in Cheltenham and Jones, of Overton Road in Cheltenham, were sentenced after pleading guilty to their involvement.
The pair appeared at Gloucester Crown Court via video link for a two day hearing.
Yesterday, Thursday 12 May, they were each jailed for seven-and-a-half years for what was described by Judge Ian Lawrie QC as "a carefully contrived exercise of burglaries".
The incidents took place within the north Cheltenham, Cotswolds, Bishops Cleeve and Winchcombe areas between September and November last year.
During this time police received 18 reports that unknown offenders had stolen vehicles, keys or number plates. As well as this there were six reports of attempted burglaries.
The pair were arrested on 9 November and a breakthrough came when mobile phone downloads found videos of the pair showing off an Audi S5 and BMW M4 which they had stolen as well as an album of collectable coins.
On 25 October last year police received reports that a Vauxhall Astra, which had previously been stolen during a burglary, had been used to commit a ram raid at Midcounties Co-op in Bishops Cleeve.
CCTV enquiries showed men using the stolen Astra to reverse ram the side doors before exiting, going into the shop and attempting to steal cigarettes and the tills.
Due to the ferocity of the reverse ram the internal smoke cloak was activated which caused them to leave empty handed and ditch the Astra. They fled in a dark coloured BMW X3 which had also been reported as stolen.
Hours later the BMW headed in the direction of Cheltenham Spa train station before entering the car park, shortly after this the Pumpkin Café was broken into with another Astra used to reverse ram the doors.
A similarity between the two incidents was spotted when an Astra was abandoned at the scene with the pair using the same BMW X3 as their getaway vehicle.
Both Pearce and Jones were subsequently charged and pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit dwelling burglary and conspiracy to commit non-dwelling burglary.
The pair also accepted a number of other offences which were taken into consideration.
Investigating officer PC Damian Brogan said: "Pearce and Jones carried out a sustained period of criminality targeting innocent victims' homes and often at night.
"The impact of their offending has not just been the significant financial costs, but more importantly the emotional impact to the victims who lost items of sentimental value.
"This investigation utilised the full capabilities of the Constabulary to bring the pair to justice for the many victims involved and shows how seriously we take offences like this.
"I would like to thank the intelligence analyst on this case for their help in getting an understanding of the pair's offending. This input really made the case."