£100,000 antiques shop burglary in the Cotswolds
By Bethany Winter | 1st March 2023
A judge has been told about the extensive DNA, fingerprint, voice recognition and radio frequency enquiries that are being carried out by experts ahead of the trial of two men accused of a £100,000 antiques shop burglary in the Cotswolds.
Vincent Smith, 41, of Cartwright Road, Churchdown, and Steven Agg, 33, of Moors Ave, Cheltenham, are both awaiting a trial currently scheduled for July 31, on a charge of breaking into Mickleton Antiques on October 16/17, 2022, and stealing £100,000 worth of silver and gold.
But Judge Martin Picton was told at Gloucester Crown Court on Tuesday (February 28) that the trial may not be able to go ahead on the planned date because of the length of time forensic investigations will take and also because the same lawyer can no longer represent both men.
The judge said he understood that the solicitors firm which has represented both defendants will now act only for Agg while Matthew Harbinson of Reeds Solicitors will take over Smith's defence.
Prosecutor Nicholas Lee said that as well as the ongoing scientific enquiries being made into aspects of the evidence there was also a possibility that other suspects may also be charged in due course.
He outlined the expert work that is currently under way or for which the financial go-ahead is awaited.
"One aspect is the DNA and fingerprint evidence recovered from various items at the scene and also from other items discovered in a recycling bag in Cheltenham shortly after the burglary," he said.
"The police have been told the wait for the results is likely to be about four months from the date of submission. Those items were all submitted 2-3 months ago so the results are expected relatively soon, hopefully within the next month or so.
"Something which may take a little longer is the voice recognition analysis which the police have commissioned in relation to Mr Smith's and Mr Agg's voices compared with the voices heard on CCTV of the burglary.
"The budget for that to be done has to be approved and that has taken a little longer than expected. The work will be sent off tomorrow and there is a 16-week time frame for that report to be provided, which would take us to the end of June. "
He said that radio frequency analysis was also being carried out on locations where the two defendants allegedly assembled before and after the burglary.
Judge Picton said that in view of all he had been told it would be best to have the case listed again in a couple of months to check on the progress of everything that will need to be done before the trial can go ahead.
It would be listed at a date convenient to the prosecution barrister, Mr Harbinson and Agg's lawyer Catherine Spedding, he said.
*At the time that Smith and Agg were charged with the burglary, three other people - one woman and two men - were also arrested on suspicion of involvement but they were released on police bail.
Mickleton Antiques was closed immediately after the raid but reopened on October 19, 2022.
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