Two members of a burglary gang who drove from Essex to Luton, Harpenden and Bushey Heath to try to steal cars were given more time in custody today (Thursday, June 17).
Joshua Bragg, 20, and Dene Edmead, 19, had already been sentenced in 2019 at Snaresbrook crown court in London for similar offences.
Prosecutor Wayne Cleaver told St Albans Crown Court that overnight on July 3, 2019, five homes were targeted with the intention to steal valuable cars that were parked outside.
In some cases, the people inside were disturbed by the burglars who were looking for car keys, while one woke to find her car had gone.
At 1am, a front door of a house in Durham Road, Luton was jemmied. A £10,000 BMW 3 series was parked outside.
Bragg stole a North Face jacket which he was later found wearing. Cash and a bag were taken, but the car keys were in secure location and not discovered.
Half an hour later, a house in Walcot Avenue, Luton was burgled. £500 cash, house keys and keys for an £8,000 Mercedes A class car were stolen. Again, the burglars were unable to take the car because the car was not parked nearby.
Mr Cleaver said they moved onto Harpenden. At 2.15am they were in Piggottshill Lane in Harpenden, where a woman was asleep on her sofa. She was woken by the sound of someone walking around and called out thinking it was her husband.
She ran upstairs and saw her black Audi Q3, worth £11,000, being reversed away. Her husband chased the Audi and the car that had brought the burglars, but they got away. It was later discovered in Raynam, Essex.
A police ANPR camera captured a silver Vauxhall Insignia that had been driving the burglars to their targets.
By 3am, they were in Bushey Heath where they tried to steal a Mercedes E class, and two VWs, worth a total of £34,000 from the driveway. They failed because a woman, who was sleeping on the sofa, woke and screamed.
At 4.15am, a £9,000 grey Mini was stolen from the drive of a house in Clay Lane in Bushey Heath. Bragg’s shoe print was found on the carpet. The car was later recovered.
Bragg was arrested the same day at 3pm in Raynam. Edmead and another man were arrested a few days later in the Insignia after it crashed near the junction of the M25 and A13 while being chased by the police.
Both men, whose addresses were given as Bedford and Feltham prisons, appeared for sentence having pleaded guilty to conspiracy to burgle and conspiracy to steal.
Bragg had been jailed for 43 months and Edmead for 54 months at Snaresbrook crown court for conspiracy to burgle and other offences in October 2019.
Bartholomew O’Toole, defending Bragg, said the cars, if not the cash had been recovered. He said Bragg, whose father is a pastor, had written a letter of apology and was only just 18 at the time.
Sunil Mansingh, for Edmead, said he was remorseful and was looking to move away from the Dagenham area on his release.
Judge Stephen Warner sentenced Bragg to 21 months’ detention and Edmead to 33 months.
He told them: “These were night-time dwelling house burglaries perpetrated when the occupiers were asleep in their home. Some people were disturbed when their homes were forcibly entered.
“Each of you played a willing part in a joint enterprise.”