Trio jailed after campaign of burglaries across Warwickshire
Three men carried out a campaign of burglaries where they targeted houses in Rugby, Kenilworth, Nuneaton, Bedworth, and Coventry to steal the keys to expensive cars.
One of the trio later deliberately drove through garden fences, destroying a trampoline where children had been playing just moments earlier, as he tried to escape from the police.
Jay Bennett, Gez Bennett and Tony Barrett all pleaded guilty at Warwick Crown Court to conspiring to commit burglaries together between December 2016 and March this year.
Jay Bennett also admitted taking part in a further conspiracy to burgle, two charges of dangerous driving and one of causing damage being reckless whether lives were endangered.
Jay Bennett (24) of Shulmans Walk, Coventry, was jailed for a total of seven years.
His brother Gez (21) of Gulson Road, Coventry, and Barrett (22) of Haseley Road, Coventry, were both jailed for four years for the conspiracy, with Barrett getting an additional six months for a further offence of theft.
Prosecutor Simon Phillips said the main aim of the burglaries committed by the three men was to steal the keys to expensive cars on the drives of the houses they targeted.
The estimated value of the cars targeted by the three of them was £287,000 – and those taken in the later conspiracy in which Jay Bennett took part were worth a further £193,000.
When the keys could not be found, they stole other items including jewellery, and on one occasion Barratt stole a £28,000 BMW from a drive while the owner was in the house after turning the engine on to defrost it.
Mr Phillips said there were nine incidents during the first conspiracy in which all three defendants were involved.
One common link between many of those burglaries was a blue Ford car which had been bought by the Bennetts’ father and which then became Barrett’s car.
The properties they targeted included a house in Berrington Road, Nuneaton, which they broke into in December and stole the keys to an Audi A1 worth £22,500 which they then stole.
Bennett then stole a BMW from the drive of a house in Heather Road, Binley Woods, after the owner had left it to defrost and gone back inside.
In Kenilworth, they broke into a house in Newfield Avenue, where there was an Audi S3 on the drive – but fled empty-handed after setting off the burglar alarm.
The Ford car was seen in the vicinity as they then burgled a house in Anchorway Road, Finham, where, unable to find the keys to the VW Golf on the drive, they stole a £3,000 Breitling watch.
On January 6 there was an attempted burglary at a house in Catesby Road, Rugby, but a man ran off when he was challenged by the householder, who then called the police.
Officers then found Barrett and Gez Bennett sitting in the Ford car in Ashlawn Road, and arrested them.
Across the road in Elms Drive a break-in was taking place at a house which had an Audi S3 on the drive – and Mr Phillips suggested the inference was that Jay was carrying that out while the other two were waiting for him.
Barrett and Gez were granted bail, and on January 12 a £24,000 Audi S3 was stolen from the drive following a burglary at a house in St Nicholas Drive, Nuneaton.
Another A3, this time worth £36,000, was then taken after a burglary at a house in Columbine Way, Bedworth.
Further afield, Gez was linked to a burglary at a house in Bougainvillea Drive, Northampton, from where an Audi Q5 was taken by raiders who also stole cash and jewellery.
Jay then went on to take part in a similar conspiracy, beginning with a burglary on May 25 at The Chesils in Coventry, where a door was forced and the keys to an Audi A7 worth £37,000 were taken.
The next day there was then a break-in at a house in Montague Road, Rugby, where there was again an expensive Audi on the drive, but the keys were well-hidden, and nothing was taken.
“Immediately prior to this, an off-duty police officer had seen an A7 in Montague Road, and had recognised Jay, who was wanted by the police,” said Mr Phillips.
The officer lost sight of him, and there was a burglary at a house in Dreyer Close, Rugby, from where a Renault Clio RS20 ‘hot-hatch’ was stolen from the drive.
Officers looking for the A7 saw it heading back towards Coventry and, after losing sight of it, then spotted the Clio heading in the same direction – and a Dreyer Close resident later picked out Jay as the person he had seen driving off in it.
On May 30 Jay Bennett was seen driving a white BMW 118S in Bulkington, and when officers tried to stop him, he sped away at more than 90mph along Bulkington Lane, clipping a Skoda which was waiting for a car in front to make a right turn as he overtook them, and hitting another car in Whitestone, Nuneaton.
He got away, and on the evening of June 20, driving a VW Golf, he was involved in another pursuit through the Coundon area of Coventry.
To escape from the police, he ploughed through the garden fences of houses in Scots Lane, going across the gardens, including demolishing a trampoline in one where children had been playing just minutes earlier.
He continued through more fences before smashing through the wrought-iron gates of a house in Duncroft Avenue to get away, but was later arrested, added Mr Phillips.