'It turned my idyllic home into a part-dream, part-nightmare' - court hears from victim of crime gang
PUBLISHED: 15:48 05 December 2018
A woman’s “idyllic” home was turned into a “part-dream, part-nightmare” after a crime gang had committed a burglary there, a court has heard.
The gang carried out more than 200 burglaries last year during an 11-month crime spree.
Twelve members of the gang appeared at Norwich Crown Court on Wednesday (December 5) to be sentenced for conspiracy to commit burglary of both homes and businesses between February to December last year across Norfolk, Suffolk, Cambridgeshire and Essex.
Outlining the evidence in the case, William Carter, prosecuting, said that the gang committed 200 burglaries and the loss to victims, where known, exceeded £1.5m, while the cost of damages was £55,000.
“It will become quite clear that the actual loss is considerably higher than that, the reason being in many cases we simply don’t know the value of the property,” the barrister said.
There were also burglaries of businesses to provide the gang with vehicles and equipment needed in the course of other offences, as well as attacks on businesses to remove ATM machines, the court was told.
The gang stole cash, jewellery, high-performance cars and firearms, the court heard.
Mr Carter said: “It’s never been the prosecution case that every defendant participated in each and every burglary. It is quite clear they didn’t.
But the fact is this was a conspiracy by the defendants, each of the defendants knew the activities of the group, each was a member of the group.”
He added: “The scale of offending by this gang was such that, since their arrests, the incidents of burglary of this nature has fallen dramatically in the affected counties.”
The court heard summaries of a succession of burglaries and raids committed last year. Mr Carter said, “Generally, but not always, the occupants were out.”
He referred to a burglary at Horn Pie Road in Norwich in March, when members of the gang stole jewellery and watches worth £43,926.
The barrister read from a statement prepared by the victim, who was five months pregnant at the time. She said that she was at home, having an afternoon nap, when she was woken by the sound of breaking glass. She went onto the landing and asked who was there, the court heard, but did not receive any reply.
The court was told that she began to walk down the stairs when she saw a man in the hallway, who started to run up the stairs toward her and she ran into her bedroom, locking the door.
During nine burglaries committed between March 6 and 8 the gang stole jewellery worth £56,956, the court heard.
Another victim, whose house was burgled on March 12, said that the crime had turned her “idyllic home into a part-dream, part-nightmare”.
In April, the court heard, the gang burgled 11 houses over the course of ten days - taking cash and jewellery worth £61,500.
On April 11 during a raid on an ATM in Longstanton in Cambridgeshire the gang stole £51,990, the court was told, while on May 18 cash and jewellery worth £34,080 was stolen.
Nine of the gang, mostly family members, have all pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit burglary.
Charlie Albert Webb, 20, from Newton Flotman, Norfolk
John Eli Loveridge, 42, of Greenways, Carleton Rode, Norfolk
John Stanley Loveridge, 23, of Greenways, Carleton Rode, Norfolk
Joseph Holmes, 21, of Schole Road, Willingham
Danny Stone-Parker, 28, of Braintree Road, Great Dunmow
Timothy Stone-Parker, 24, of Clay Way, Ely
Joe John Spencer Loveridge, 19, of Winchester Road, Sandy, Bedfordshire
Richard Oakley, 27, of Sandy Park, Beck Row, Suffolk
Johnny Oakley, 25, of Sandy Park, Beck Row, Suffolk
It is expected the gang will be sentenced by Judge Stephen Holt on Thursday (December 6), along with three other men who have been found guilty of handling stolen goods between March 12 and November 7, 2017, following a trial at the court.
Simon Oakley, 45, of Alburgh Road, Hempnall, Norfolk, was also found guilty of conspiracy to burgle.
The 45-year-old, who owns Stratton Quick Fit, a garage and workshop at Elite Business Park, in Salamanca Road, Long Stratton, had previously admitted possession of a firearm without a certificate and handling stolen goods.
He provided false registration plates to the gang and directed others to commit crime. He helped to hide stolen vehicles and pass them off as legitimate.
James Pateman, 55, of no fixed abode, and his brother, Thomas Pateman, 54, of Fen Road, Chesterton, Cambridge, have also been convicted of handling stolen goods.
Sentencing is due to begin on Thursday.