Man jailed for role in two ram-raids on village Co-op and SPAR stores
- Credit: Suffolk Constabulary
A man has been jailed for more than four years for his part in ram-raids on two Suffolk shops.
Jesse Gatehouse, 30, was awaiting sentence for one destructive burglary when he admitted being part of an earlier attempted raid.
He was visited in jail by Suffolk’s Operation Converter unit, which allows defendants to admit otherwise unsolved crimes to be taken into consideration when sentenced.
Gatehouse, of Defoe Crescent, Colchester, was among three men who used a stolen forklift to smash into the Co-op in Debenham, causing more than £30,000 of damage and making off with a cash machine containing £78,420, at about 3.30am on November 12.
Two more stolen vehicles were involved – an Audi S4, taken from a driveway in Chelmsford, and a Ford Transit, stolen from Bures village hall, before its roof was removed to accommodate the cash machine.
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Two people fled in the Audi, while the machine and contents were later traced by a tracker to a disused barn in Syleham.
As officers made their way to the scene, at about 4.20am, they encountered a red Audi driving towards them on Syleham Road.
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The driver attempted a U-turn in the narrow road but crashed the car into a ditch.
Gatehouse surrendered in the back seat, while two men fled on foot and are yet to be caught.
A week earlier, just before 2.45am on November 4, a stolen Land Rover was reversed into the front of a SPAR shop in Glemsford, near Sudbury.
A red Audi estate was witnessed leaving the premises, where the damaged Land Rover was left behind and nothing was stolen.
In total, Gatehouse admitted six charges covering the two raids, including burglary, vehicle theft and criminal damage, for which he was sentenced at Ipswich Crown Court on Tuesday.
Russell Butcher, prosecuting, said the offences took significant planning and were aggravated by their impact on the community.
Kelly Fernandez-Lee, mitigating, said Gatehouse had been very co-operative with detectives, despite his reluctance to name his accomplices.
She said the father-of-three played a subordinate role in the raids and was genuinely remorseful.
Before sentencing Gatehouse to 52 months’ custody, Judge David Goodin told Gatehouse: “As commercial burglaries go, they don’t come much more serious.”