Man jailed over safe snatch from Southwick foster carer

Wiltshire Times: Man jailed over safe snatch from Southwick foster carer Man jailed over safe snatch from Southwick foster carer

A man who made off with a safe containing £10,000 when he burgled his stepson's former foster mother has been jailed for two years.

Russell Gavin targeted the isolated bungalow as he knew what to find having visited the foster carer when she was looking after the child.

And when the police went to the 40-year-old's house there was a strong smell of ground metal and an angle grinder and metal dust in the floor.

Colin Meeke, prosecuting, told Swindon crown court on Friday how the property on Green Lane, Southwick, was raided on overnight in March 14, 2012.

When the occupants returned home they found the safe had gone but no other rooms appeared to have been entered by the intruder.

He said inside the safe was about £10,000 in cash, jewellery, deeds to a house abroad, share certificates and passports.

"The defendant's vehicle was seen in the immediate vicinity. It's movements were recorded round and about the area," Mr Meeke said.

"In due course the safe was recovered from a parking area in Swindon, in John Street. The safe and some of the contents recovered. That led inexorably to the defendant."

At his house they found the evidence that he had been using the angle grinder to cut his way into the safe.

Gavin, of Thatcham, Berkshire, pleaded guilty to burglary.

Guy Draper, defending, said his client had been out of trouble for a long time until his relationship broke down and he lost contact with his children.

"This led to the abuse of drugs and alcohol and he became depressed. During this he accrued a debt, a drug debt," he said.

He said the people he owed the money to were using threats of violence to get him to pay the money back.

Mr Draper said his client was aware he was facing the prospect of a jail term but asked the court to give him a chance with a suspended sentence and drug treatment.

Passing sentence Judge Douglas Field said "This was a serious case of dwelling house burglary.

"Premises were entered at night, albeit no-one was in and there was no damage. A safe was taken and items of high value and high sentimental value.

"The circumstances are so serious that I am not prepared to pass a suspended sentence."

As well as the jail term he ordered he forfeit £1,253 confiscated by the police when he was arrested.

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