Saturday, 24 October 2009

Conviction of Travelling Criminals

On the 6th of May 2009, a group of criminals travelled through the Force area targeting elderly residents within the community. This callous group tricked and forced their way into the homes of their victims and using extreme threats and force, stole money and jewellery from them. Their progress through the counties was tracked by the number of calls from their victims and a coordinated Police response was undertaken to identify, locate and apprehend them.

Several properties in Ceredigion were targeted and the elderly residents of one address were subjected to a vicious attack where one lady was held in her chair whilst her necklace and rings were stolen. She showed considerable resilience and strength of character as she, along with her sister, were able to identify their attackers which undoubtedly assisted in securing their conviction.

This response included the use of response vehicles, air support and the use of new technology to analyse data resulting in the vehicle being used by the offenders being spotted near Penblewyn roundabout on the Pembrokeshire / Carmarthenshire border. A subsequent pursuit culminated in the arrest of all the offenders and the recovery of stolen property and evidence from them. In addition, it was quickly discovered that the car being used by them was also stolen from a burglary in England and was being driven on false registration plates.

The investigation that followed involved specialist scientific examinations and interviews of the suspects by several Police Forces who had been notified of their arrest. On presentation of the Police case at Crown Court, the offenders pleaded guilty to robbery, conspiring to commit burglaries of dwellings and aggravated theft of a motor vehicle.

Offences such as these are thankfully very rare in Ceredigion however, it is important to reiterate a simple crime prevention message. Do not let anyone you do not know into your home, put the chain on the door and check their identities. Genuine callers will not mind waiting.

Jerry Patrick Berry, Phillip Anthony Berry and Leon Lavelle were all sentenced to custody for a total period of 6 years (Jerry Berry) and 5 years 8 months (Philip Berry and Leon Lavelle) for the robberies within the force area. A further 4 years was handed down for conspiring to commit burglaries along with 4 months for the vehicle theft.


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