'Greedy' burglars who targeted community facilities in £122,000 crime spree are jailed
- Credit: Suffolk police
A pair of burglars who targeted community facilities and village sports clubs in a £122,000 crime spree across Suffolk, Norfolk and other parts of the country have been jailed.
Shane Phillips and Tim Moyle committed dozens of burglaries throughout 2020, often breaking into community clubs and facilities during the coronavirus lockdown to steal thousands of pounds worth of equipment.
The total loss to victims of the burglaries was calculated to be around £122,000, Ipswich Crown Court heard.
On May 4, 2020, during the first Covid-19 lockdown, the pair targeted Bungay Sports Club, and equipment valued around £16,000 was stolen.
Between June 18 and June 19, the pair struck at Mower Fix in Worcestershire, stealing equipment worth £9,700, including lawn mowers which were being repaired by the company.
Walsham-le-Willows Sports Club, which is home to the village's football, cricket and bowls clubs, was the next target sometime between June 30 and July 1, with £5,500 of equipment taken.
Mowers, strimmers, leaf blowers, fuel and distinctive blue and white striped roof panels were stolen.
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A yard in Chapel Road, Beccles was also targeted between July 4 and July 5, and a JCB mini digger and trailer, worth £8,500, was stolen.
Phillips was also solely responsible for a break-in at St John the Baptist Church in Snape between August 19 and August 20 when seven petrol lawn mowers were stolen from an outbuilding.
The court heard that some of the equipment was recovered from the thefts but many items were sold through an intermediary.
Both Phillips, 25, of New Street, Stradbroke, and Moyle, 26, of Anchor Street, Lowestoft, asked that a string of other offences be taken into consideration.
Phillips asked that a further 58 offences be taken into consideration while Moyle asked for 38 - all committed with Phillips - to be considered.
The amount of loss to victims in Phillips' TIC offences was more than £95,000 while Moyle's totalled £50,157.
Other offences took place at Caister Cemetery, when garden tools and machinery were stolen from sheds, and as far away as Cornwall, the court heard.
David Stewart, for Phillips, said his client had "owned up to a large number of other offences" which showed an "expression of remorse".
Mr Stewart said Phillips committed the burglaries "simply for money" after his own landscaping business had got into difficulty.
Jude Durr, for Moyle, said his client was a "bright young man" who had an unhappy childhood.
The court heard the pair had four previous convictions each.
Sentencing Phillips and Moyle on Wednesday, Judge Emma Peters called the offending "large-scale and greedy".
"These were all places that served members of the community," Judge Peters said. "The impact of the criminality would have been felt by hundreds of people."
Phillips was jailed for two years and two months, while Moyle received a two-year sentence.
The pair will serve half in custody before being released on licence.