Beds, Herts & Bucks

Men deny burglary at Theo Walcott's family home

Theo Walcott
Image caption Raiders struck while Theo Walcott was playing in a Champions League match against Barcelona

Two men have gone on trial accused of burgling the family home of Arsenal and England footballer Theo Walcott while he played in a Champions League game.

His parents and brother were watching Arsenal's 2-1 win over Barcelona when their home in Hertfordshire was ransacked, Luton Crown Court heard.

A VW Golf was stolen in the raid on 16 February.

Kevin Wood, of Hemel Hempstead, and Ryan Lee, of Amersham, Buckinghamshire, deny burglary and theft.

Prosecutor Sally Mealing-McLeod told the court the family were at the Emirates stadium in north London, leaving the home in Longcroft Lane, Hemel Hempstead, empty.

A conservatory window was forced open, a search carried out of the house, and electrical items and a laptop stolen, the court heard.

The VW Golf, which had personalised number plates and enough petrol in the tank to travel about 10 miles, was taken after the keys were found inside the house, Miss Mealing-McLeod said.

'Violation of home'

CCTV at a BP garage in White Lion Road, Amersham, showed the two defendants filling a petrol can with fuel at about 2100 GMT, she added.

The following morning, Mr Wood, 32, of Shrubhill Road, was seen on CCTV at the same forecourt filling the car with petrol, the court heard.

When arrested, the men denied knowing each other but mobile phone records showed they had been in frequent contact.

Mr Wood said he had travelled in the car, driven by an Asian man, and did not know the vehicle was stolen.

Mr Lee, of Sandycroft Road, claimed he assisted two men by getting a petrol can from his home.

She said: "Nobody saw these two men doing the burglary but the Crown say that by putting together the strands of different evidence it is possible to convict them."

None of the Walcott family were in court and were not required to give evidence.

A statement by Walcott's father, Donald, was read to the jury.

"The front door was locked but inside I saw the double library doors were ajar and had damage to their wooden panels.

"It feels like a horrible violation of my family home," his statement said.

The trial continues.

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