They tar­geted 19 stores net­ting thou­sands of pounds

Warwickshire Telegraph - - FRONT PAGE - Laura Hart­ley News re­porter laura.hart­ley@trin­i­tymir­ror.com

A PAIR of crooks who made thou­sands travelling the coun­try bur­gling su­per­mar­kets have been jailed for more than nine years.

Scott John­son, from Coven­try, and Scott Warner, from Bed­worth, tar­geted a to­tal of 19 con­ve­nience stores in the Mid­lands, Cheshire, York­shire and even the Isle of Wight.

The brazen pair even car­ried on raid­ing stores when they had been ar­rested and bailed by one po­lice force sim­ply mov­ing into a dif­fer­ent area.

John­ston, aged 35, of Lan­cia Close in Al­der­mans Green, and Warner, 33 of Miss­ing Oak Close in Bed­worth, pleaded guilty to con­spir­acy to com­mit bur­glary and on Fri­day they were sen­tenced at Birm­ing­ham Crown Court.

Warner was jailed for 52 months and John­ston got 56 months with an ex­tra six months for dan­ger­ous driv­ing.

John­ston will also be dis­qual­i­fied from driv­ing for two years and will need to take an ex­tended re-test be­fore he can get back be­hind the wheel.

The pair’s crim­i­nal shop­ping spree took place be­tween May 21 and July 17 last year.

They tar­geted four Tesco Ex­press stores and 15 Sains­bury’s Lo­cal con­ve­nience stores, wear­ing masks and dark cloth­ing be­fore forc­ing their way in­side in the early hours of the morn­ing.

Within two months they had trav­elled all the way around the coun­try to tar­get the smaller su­per­mar­kets but were even­tu­ally busted by the num­ber plate recog­ni­tion sys­tem used by po­lice.

Be­fore they could carry out their 20th raid they were ar­rested and charged.

In­ves­ti­gat­ing of­fi­cer, Det Con Rob Clarke said: “John­ston and Warner thought they could evade cap­ture by travelling far and wide us­ing their tried and trusted MO and even though they had been ar­rested and bailed in other po­lice force ar­eas they brazenly con­tin­ued their of­fend­ing.

“But a com­bi­na­tion of Au­to­mated Num­ber Plate Recog­ni­tion work along with foren­sic and phone anal­y­sis linked them both to each raid.

“Faced with the ev­i­dence against them, they had lit­tle choice other than to ad­mit their guilt and the court ac­cepted 12 guilty pleas each which cov­ered all the bur­glar­ies. I am sat­is­fied that they have been given cus­to­dial sen­tences.”

The stores tar­geted were as fol­lows:

18 May - Sains­bury Lo­cal, Comp­ton, Wolver­hamp­ton

20 May − Tesco Ex­press, Measham, Le­ices­ter­shire

21 May - Sains­bury Lo­cal, Mel­ton Mow­bray, Le­ices­ter­shire

2 June - Sains­bury Lo­cal, Comp­ton, Wolver­hamp­ton

4 June - Sains­bury Lo­cal, Mar­low, Buck­ing­hamshire

7 June - Sains­bury Lo­cal, Hoole, Ch­ester

12 June - Sains­bury Lo­cal, Knutsfort, Cheshire

13 June - Sains­bury Lo­cal, Southamp­ton

18 June - Sains­bury Lo­cal, Sandown, Isle of Wight

19 June - Sains­bury Lo­cal, Al­bert Road, South­sea

19 June - Sains­bury Lo­cal, Palmer­stone Road, South­sea

23 June - Sains­bury Lo­cal, Hove

2 July − Tesco Ex­press, South­bourne Grove, Bournemouth

2 July − Tesco Ex­press, Tuck­ton Road, Bournemouth

6 July - Sains­bury Lo­cal, Fulford Road, York

6 July - Sains­bury Lo­cal, Bootham, York

14 July - Sains­bury Lo­cal, Bish­op­ston, Bris­tol

15 July - Sains­bury Lo­cal, Car­shal­ton, Sur­rey

17 July - Sains­bury Lo­cal, Holmes Chapel, Cheshire

Scott John­son and Scott Warner

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