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Gloucestershire Business News

Two men ram-raided Lydney jewellery shop

Two men who ram-raided a Lydney jewellery shop made nothing at all from the crime - because the display boxes they stole from inside were empty, a court heard on Friday (March 10).

One of the culprits was jailed for 68 weeks for his part in the futile raid while his partner in crime walked free from Gloucester Crown Court with a suspended prison sentence.

Prosecutor Alun Williams told the court that at about 2.50am on May 24, 2022, police were alerted to the raid taking place at Taylor's Jewellers in Newerne Street, Lydney.

A local resident had witnessed a Vauxhall Astra van smashing into the shop, said Mr Williams.

John Snee, 25, of Goldwire Lane, Monmouth and Cameron Smith, 23, of Boating Lake Lane, Lydney were in the white van, which reversed into the shop window at least four times.

Having smashed the shop frontage the pair were seen kicking the glass out of the window frame and taking a number of display boxes - which they later discovered were empty.

"The van is then driven away at speed. Smith then makes his way home where he goes for a walk with his partner Alayah Rizk and during this activity he proceeds to assault her by beating her to the side of her face," said the prosecutor.

Repairs to the shop frontage were estimated by Claire Taylor, the proprietor of the store, to cost between £10,000 and £12,000, said Mr Williams.

Lloyd Jenkins for Snee said: "Sadly the facts speak for themselves and its obvious the offending crosses the custody threshold. This was a result of him being intoxicated through alcohol.

"The pre-sentence report suggests a lack of maturity at the time of his offending. There seems to have been a light-bulb moment when he wrote to my office on November 11, 2022, admitting his guilt, having previously denied it.

"His letter states 'It's about time I came clean and apologise for wasting other people's time and accept my responsibility and admit my role in the ram raid in Lydney. I was stupid and I regret my involvement, but I slipped back into old ways'.

"Snee has not committed any further offences since this incident in May last year. If Snee retains his liberty today, his current employment position will be made permanent."

Stephen Donnelly, defending Smith, said that at an earlier hearing his client was being assessed for residential drug treatment but this facility was not available.

"He needed to distance himself from negative peer influences within the area that he had lived," Mr Donnelly said.

"Smith has a history of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and whilst having a support network of friends and family, none of them were able to provide him with accommodation so he could have assisted him maintaining a conviction-free existence.

"And whilst being remanded in custody for the past nine months he has become drug and alcohol free. But because he has been denied his liberty he has been unable to work to earn money to pay any compensation that the court might be considering."

Snee and Smith both admitted entering Taylors Jewellers on May 24, 2022, as trespassers with Smith also pleading guilty to an assault on the same date.

The Judge, Recorder Robert Weekes KC, told both defendants: "You committed the burglary when you embarked on a ram raid on the jewellery store during the early morning of May 24, 2022.

"However, despite causing thousands of pounds of damage, you only ran off with a number of empty boxes. Two large panels of glass were already on the ground when you pulled a third pane of glass from its frame.

"Smith, on your return home you assaulted your partner of four years whilst on a walk later that morning.

"Both of you had gone equipped for burglary and you had partially planned this because you drove up in a van."

The judge sentenced Snee to a prison term of 16 months, but suspended it for two years and ordered that he complete 30 rehabilitation activity requirement days and 100 hours of unpaid work.

The Recorder ordered that Snee pay court costs of £900,

Smith was sentenced to an immediate prison sentence of 68 weeks and was told that the judge did not consider that there was a realistic prospect of rehabilitation for him to suspend it.

The judge also ordered that Smith be subject to an indefinite restraining order not to contact by any means his former partner.

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