Two-fin­ger salute from brazen thief as he stole car

Ca­reer crim­i­nal’s bur­glar­ies to pay for drugs THE SEN­TENCE

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Most Unromantic Man Competition -

Ca­reer vil­lain Levi Smith’s cam­paign of thiev­ing in Ash­ford last year has re­vealed a breath­tak­ing ar­ro­gance.

The 41-year-old was caught red­handed steal­ing tools from a shed – but talked his way out of it by claim­ing they were his tools.

Then he went past the boss of a scrap­yard, giv­ing him a twofin­ger salute as he drove away in the man’s car.

But Smith saved his most brazen theft for an Ash­ford jewellers when he switched a £500 di­a­mond ring with a use­less trin­ket.

And, even as his lat­est batch of crimes were be­ing out­lined at Can­ter­bury Crown Court the prose­cu­tor had to re­buke his three friends in the pub­lic gallery for snig­ger­ing.

Smith, for­merly of St Teresa’s Close in Ash­ford, was given an 18-month sen­tence af­ter ad­mit­ting a string of bur­glar­ies and thefts.

He will only serve half of that sen­tence in cus­tody and, be­cause he was elec­tron­i­cally tagged await­ing his hear­ing, he will be re­leased within weeks.

Smith, who has 58 pre­vi­ous con­vic­tions, claimed the crimes were car­ried out to pay off a drugs

‘He didn’t seem in any rush to get away and was act­ing ca­su­ally’

Smith was given a to­tal of 18 months for the of­fences which in­cluded bur­glary, at­tempted bur­glary, go­ing equipped debt. Prose­cu­tor Trevor Wright said that in De­cem­ber 2012 he was spot­ted by Au­drey Stevens walk­ing out of her prop­erty in Christchurch Road, Ash­ford.

“She could see him putting on gloves and pick­ing up some tools – in­clud­ing a cir­cu­lar saw be­long­ing to her hus­band.”

The ar­ro­gant thief coolly turned to Mrs Stevens and asked if she needed to get into her prop­erty.

“She told him she lived there and said she had seen him come out of her gate.

“He replied: ‘No I haven’t. I am just fix­ing my tools. I have been do­ing work a cou­ple of doors down.’

Shouted

“She said that he didn’t seem in any rush to get away and was act­ing very ca­su­ally,” added Mr Wright.

But when Mrs Stevens shouted for her son, Smith scarpered, dump­ing the tools in a lane.

Days later he stole reg­is­tra­tion num­ber plates from a Nis­san which were found on another car parked in Cran­brook.

On the same day, on Jan­uary 6, he broke into a house in The Street, Wit­ter­sham, steal­ing a purse and a Fiat Panda be­long­ing to the home­owner Janet Snelling.

Mr Wright said the car was later found at a breaker’s yard in Bils­ing­ton. for theft, theft, tak­ing a car un­law­fully and driv­ing while dis­qual­i­fied and with­out insurance.

The same month, Smith went to Court Lodge Farm, The Street in Great Chart, smashed his way into a parked car and stole a bag, con­tain­ing £100, and a sat nav.

And then he stole a sit-on mower from a house at Budds Farm Cot­tages in Wit­ter­sham but loaded it on to a nearby truck, not re­al­is­ing it could not be driven.

Within days he was caught on CCTV cam­eras at The Oast House in Great Chart steal­ing a cop­per heat­ing cylin­der and then go­ing to Ri­p­ley’s Scrap Yard in Mer­sham where he took a Toy­ota Corolla.

The prose­cu­tor said: “The man­ager, James Bul­ley, was stand­ing at the gate of his yard when the Corolla drove past him.

“Mr Bul­ley recog­nised the driver, who was stick­ing two fin­gers at him.”

Smith had also gone to JJ Jewellers in Ash­ford where he switched rings and then went to Home­lands Golf Cen­tre in Ash­ford in Septem­ber when he went into a staff-only area but was dis­turbed by a club worker.

El­iz­a­beth Whe­lan, de­fend­ing said Smith had gone on “a drugs binge” but claimed he was now “com­pletely clean” of drugs.

She said the change to his be­hav­iour – be­fore the re­lapses in Septem­ber – was be­cause of his new re­la­tion­ship and now he wanted to “get out (of prison), get mar­ried and get help”.

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