A PUB raid gang member caught fleeing from the scene has been jailed for a total of four and a half years.
Ben Hughes, of New Road, in Woodville, has been caged after a gang he was part of used a stolen transit van to smash through the patio doors of the Bubble Inn pub, in Stenson, Derby and steal takings, cash tills and gaming machines.
Police were called by residents woken by the noise and officers saw men running from the transit van in several directions.
Hughes was caught trying to flee in the back of a taxi.
In his pockets was £3,000 – cash stolen from the office of the pub – and a balaclava. A further £400 was later found hidden beneath a seat in the taxi.
The 28-year-old admitted burgling the pub on July 25 this year and handling stolen goods – the transit van. He also admitted a separate offence of burglary and vehicle taking committed in July last year.
Ben Gow, prosecuting, said those crimes involved a break-in at a house in Market Harborough.
The burglar stole a set of car keys and drove off in the householder’s Fiat parked on the drive.
The car was spotted by police in Burton the next day and Hughes was arrested. Text messages on his mobile phone revealed he had been out looking for cars to steal in Market Harborough.
Stafford Crown Court heard that Hughes was on bail for those offences and awaiting sentence for crimes committed in Sheffield when he burgled the pub. The defendant also had a string of previous convictions, the pub break-in being his 12th burglary.
Mr Gow said the owners of the pub had been out at a function and returned to find the premises had been raided.
Recorder Adam Feest said of the pub raid: “This was a carefully planned commercial burglary. You and at least one other deliberately targeted the pub having already obtained a stolen vehicle.”
The judge said the burglary and car theft at Market Harborough also involved ‘a significant degree of planning’.
“Everyone is entitled to feel safe and secure in their homes and actions by burglars like you remove that security,” he told Hughes.
John Butterfield, defending, said Hughes’s offending was borne out of ‘feelings of recklessness and ruthlessness’.