Beds, Herts & Bucks

Four men jailed for Bedfordshire telephone cable theft

Four men from Bedfordshire have been jailed for stealing telephone cables they had hoped to sell for scrap.

Luton Crown Court heard the men used a Mitsubishi Shogun to drag the cables from the ground, cutting off 800 residents in Little Staughton.

Albert Smith, 34, and Jesse Smith, 45, from Common Road, Potton, admitted theft in Colmworth on 4 March.

John Smith, 34 and Levy Smith, 20, from Ampthill Road, Kempston Hardwick also pleaded guilty at Luton Crown Court.

High speed pursuit

Police were alerted when a dog walker discovered a gaping hole in a grass verge and heard an angle grinder in an adjacent field.

Natalie Carter, prosecuting, said the men had removed three manhole covers, cut the live cables and used a chain attached to the Shogun to drag them out of the ground.

The cables were being cut with an angle grinder into 1.5m lengths, but the four made off when officers arrived.

The court heard John Smith and Levy Smith were pursued in the Shogun loaded with cable and were arrested after pulling into a field.

Jesse Smith was driving a Vauxhall Vectra, with Albert Smith his passenger, and reached speeds of up to 105mph as he tried to shake off police, the court was told.

The car eventually stopped in Everton Road, Potton, where the men were arrested.

The prosecutor said the cable in terms of repair and replacement was worth about £17,000. Its scrap metal value was about £5,000.

Banned from driving

Judge Geoffrey Breen said the impact of such thefts could cause misery and despair, particularly for elderly people who might not have the back up of a mobile phone and are unable to call emergency services.

Jesse Smith, who also admitted dangerous driving, was jailed for two-and-half years and disqualified from driving for three years.

John Smith was jailed for two years and banned from driving for a year and Albert Smith was jailed for two years.

Levy Smith was sentenced to 15 months in a young offenders institution.

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