Time called on prolific pub burglar duo

A pair of burglars who specialised in stealing from pubs in Stevenage have been jailed for a total of five years.

Lee Dowsett, 30, of Scarborough Avenue, Stevenage pleaded guilty to forcing a window at The Twin Foxes in Rockingham Way on April 3 last year and breaking into a fruit machine. He pleaded guilty to doing the same at The Granby on North Road on April 28, as well as going equipped for burglary in Watford, on June 7.

He admitted a further eight burglaries last year to be taken into consideration. These included The Shephall Centre, Shephall Green, The Harvester at Roaring Meg, The Toby Carvery on London Road, St Nicholas Tavern, Canterbury Way, The Coopers Inn, Magpie Crescent as well as The Station Pub in Knebworth and The Six Templars in Hertford.

His accomplice, Jason Dowsett, 41, of Watford, pleaded guilty to burgling the Pied Piper at Oaks Cross, Stevenage on April 22 last year, by forcing a window and breaking into two fruit machines. He also pleaded guilty to the Twin Fox burglary and also going equipped for burglary in Watford.

He also asked for offences to be taken into consideration at The Harvester, The Toby Carvery, St Nicholas Tavern and The Coopers Inn, as well as The Proverbial, High Street, The Times Club at The Oval and Aldenham Social Club in Aldenham.

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Both men received 30 month sentences.

A third man, Roy Callaghan, 35, of Bishops Stortford, gave an early guilty plea to two charges of burglary last year. He pleaded guilty to forcing the back door of The Peartree in Valley Way and breaking into two fruit machines as well as breaking into a Co-op in Borehamwood.

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Callaghan asked for 17 other offences to be taken into consideration.

He was given a probation order in November and ordered to attend a substance misuse and alcohol treatment programme.

Stevenage Dep Ins Gary Atkinson said the operation to catch the burglars had been extensive.

“This was a highly prolific gang of burglars. The impact of these burglaries wasn’t just about jemmying loose change out of fruit machines. This gang were striking in the early hours of the morning when pub staff were still on the premises.

“We started linking these burglaries early on and formed a highly resourced and robust police response. Each offence triggered an intense amount of police activity which was designed to capture all the available evidence at the earliest opportunity.”

He added that since the arrests this type of burglary had reduced dramatically.

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