Jailbird forced to steal two caravans to repay debt to criminals
A middle-aged thief told Derby’s top judge “I thought I recognised your face” after he jailed him for the second time in six months at Derby Crown Court. Lee Pressley made the remark after Judge Shaun Smith KC told his sentencing hearing “I know the defendant well”.
Having handed him a six-month jail term for handling stolen goods late last year, the heavily-convicted 51-year-old found himself back in custody for his party in the theft of two caravans. But he only agreed to take part in the criminal caper as he was in debt to what his barrister called “some very unsavoury characters”.
Jailing Pressley for 16 months for his latest crimes, Judge Smith said: “It is a one-year starting point but it is aggravated in a number of ways. You are no stranger to the courts and if I read out your antecedent history (criminal record) it would take me ages.
“When you and I last met you were sent to prison and when released you got involved, I am told, with some very unsavoury characters and I have no doubt that’s the cause. It is not an excuse but it’s an explanation.
“These were easy targets but it was no doubt distressing for the owners of these caravans to whom I am sure they were their pride and joy.”
David Eager, prosecuting, said the thefts took place from Brookside Caravan Storage, in Whittington Road, Barrow Hill, Chesterfield, on February 8, this year. He said two cars were seen to arrive near to the scene and then a tool, possibly an angle grinder, was used as sparks caught on CCTV, to break in through the gates.
The prosecutor said: “One caravan was hitched on to the back of a Volvo which left and while later the same Volvo returned and a second caravan was hitched onto it and driven away. The value, each owner says, is around £15,000 for each one.
“The same Volvo, was stopped later the same evening in Creswell Road, Creswell and in it were nine separate items which were later identified by the owners of the caravans as coming from them.”
Pressley, of North Road, Creswell, pleaded guilty to theft and criminal damage charges. His barrister, Lesley Pidcock said her client had got involved after being reminded of a debt he owed to the “unsavoury characters” when he was released from his last prison term.
She said: “He has a partner in the Chesterfield area and on his release from prison he has plans to move out of the area where, as I’m sure your honour knows, he’s very well known.”
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- ^ he jailed him for the second time in six months (www.derbytelegraph.co.uk)
- ^ Having handed him a six-month jail term for handling stolen goods late last year, (www.derbytelegraph.co.uk)
- ^ Matlock knifeman took hostages in rooftop siege after viciously stabbing teen in the neck at bar (www.derbytelegraph.co.uk)
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