Two men have been sentenced to a combined nine years behind bars for conspiracy to burgle 12 commercial premises between Feb 19 and March 15 this year.
Today (Thursday 25 October) Ricky Severn and Darryl Clarke were handed jail terms after they pleaded guilty to conspiracy to burgle at Southampton Crown Court after pleading guilty at a hearing on Monday 22 October.
Ricky Severn, aged 32, of Alder Road, Southampton was sentenced to four and a half years in prison for conspiracy to burgle.
Darryl Clarke, aged 29, of Summit Way, Southampton was also sentenced to four and half years behind bars for conspiracy to burgle and a further three years for handling stolen goods. The judge ordered for the sentences to be served concurrently.
The pair were charged following a complex police investigation that linked 10 crimes in Hampshire and two in Dorset where convenience stores were targeted for cash and cigarettes.
Stores in Southampton, Eastleigh, Netley Abbey and Basingstoke were affected and two in Wimborne.
In total, it is estimated that Severn and Clarke stole near to £100,000 worth of goods, mainly cigarettes and one occasion, £65,000 worth of clothes from the John Anthony Store on Above Bar Street, Southampton.
The burglaries were planned and followed a specific method. Most of the crimes occurred in the early hours of the morning. Thousands of pounds worth of cigarettes were stolen and then likely sold on illegally. The suspects wore masks and scarves to cover their faces, used crow bars to gain entry to shops, and the cigarettes were stuffed into large industrial rubble bags and thrown in the back of stolen cars on cloned plates which were used as getaway cars at an attempt to make those responsible, untraceable. In total, five vehicles used in the crimes were found, recovered and seized by police.
Officers cracked the case when Clarke’s DNA was found at the scene of a burglary at a Sainsbury’s store in Hatch Warren in Basingstoke. Soon after the discovery, Clarke was charged and remanded. When Clarke was arrested, his phone was seized and forensically examined and with that the phone data revealed the conspiracy.
Within his phone detectives were able to identify a contact for Ricky Severn, disguised under a pseudonym. By identifying Severn, officers were able to evidence key conversations between the pair before, during and after all the burglaries.
Soon after, Detectives arrested Severn getting off a plane after he arrived at Luton Airport following a holiday in Malta. He was charged for the part he played in executing the burglaries and has been in custody since May.
Today, the investigation comes to its conclusion with the pair receiving a combined nine years imprisonment.
Watch Severn and Clarke in this CCTV footage from a burglary on March 13 at the Co-op on West End High. It was broken into between 1.40am and 1.50am. Entry was gained with crow bars forcing the rear fire door. Large amount of cigarettes, till float and charity box stolen.
Detective Constable Chris Orr from the Western Investigation Team based at Southampton Central Police Station said: “Severn and Clarke were part of a very organised network of criminals who make their living from crime.
“I am hopeful that Severn and Clarke’s jail terms will show those within their communities who look up to them, that should they commit crime like this, they will also be caught and brought to justice.”
Hampshire Constabulary is committed to protecting businesses and their staff throughout the county. The Safer Hampshire Business Partnership is a group of partners that are dedicated to crime reduction and security affecting the business community in Hampshire.
The group is made up of the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner (OPCC), police, crime reduction managers in Portsmouth and Southampton, the National Business Crime Centre, Chamber of Commerce, Co-op and Sainsbury’s.
The partnership meets quarterly to share information and is keen to develop a network of businesses of all sizes. This year, it launched a LinkedIn page to further share information within the business community as widely as possible.
If you’re a business owner in Southampton, please follow the group to receive messages and link with others: https://www.linkedin.com/company/safer-hampshire-business-partnership/