Phone box raiders are jailed

TWO men who travelled round the county ripping coin boxes out of telephone kiosks are today starting jail sentences.

Jane Hunt

TWO men who travelled round the county ripping coin boxes out of telephone kiosks are today starting jail sentences.

Alan Loveridge and his step-son Steven Allum targeted five telephone kiosks in Bury St Edmunds, Needham Market, Benhall and Beccles during a two week period during Christmas and New Year, Ipswich Crown Court heard.

They used crowbars and other tools to either rip out coin boxes or force them open and got away with £1,130 cash and caused more than £1,800 damage, said Nicola May, prosecuting.

Loveridge, 41, of Rede Way, Sudbury and Allum, 22, of Branston Road, Stowmarket each admitted five offences of theft from telephone boxes. Allum was jailed for 21 months and Loveridge, who also admitted dangerous driving, was jailed for 30 months and banned from driving for two years. He will have to take an extended driving test before he is allowed back on the road.

Jailing the men, Judge Neil McKittrick said that telephone kiosks often provided a lifeline to elderly and vulnerable people who didn't have the benefit of modern technology, such as mobile phones.

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The judge praised “old fashioned police work” which led to the detection of the defendants.

The court heard that Loveridge was arrested after police officers saw him driving in Bury St Edmunds and indicated they wanted him to stop.

Loveridge had accelerated away and during the pursuit that followed drove at speeds of 50 to 80mph and forced other motorists to brake to avoid a collision.

The chase came to an end when Loveridge's car collided with a police car that boxed him in.

Jamie Sawyer, for Loveridge, said his client had been using drugs since he was 14 and had been using heroin since 1999.

He said Loveridge had a £40 a day drug habit and had raided the coin boxes in the telephone kiosks to fund his drug habit.

Roger Thompson, for Allum, said he had been a drug user but had been drug free for four months while he had been in custody.

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