Pair are jailed after stealing charity boxes

PUBLISHED: 10:18 01 October 2019 | UPDATED: 10:18 01 October 2019

Jamie Darby (left) and Paul Batterbee (right). Picture: Essex Police/ARCHANT

Jamie Darby (left) and Paul Batterbee (right). Picture: Essex Police/ARCHANT

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Two men who stole six charity boxes from businesses in Earls Colne and Sible Hedingham have been jailed.

It follows a forced entry into a hardware shop in High Street, Earls Colne, on April 4, at approximately 3.30am.

Paul Batterbee and Jamie Darby stole five charity boxes before breaking into the Co-Op store in Swan Street, Sible Hedingham, 20 minutes later. There they stole another charity box and cigarettes worth a four-figure sum.

They used a stolen vehicle which was tracked by police to Eastern Avenue, in Haverhill. The house they were arrested at was the only one on the street to have lights on and the vehicle parked outside was warm and had gloves and a crowbar inside. The stolen goods were recovered from the address.

As a result, Batterbee, 40, of Eastern Avenue, Haverhill, and Darby, 39, of Westfield, Clare, each received 27 month concurrent sentences for two counts of burglary. In addition, the latter offender also received a month to run consecutively for theft and a month concurrent for taking a vehicle without the owner's consent.

Investigating officer PC Leila Sandford, of Braintree CID, said: "Batterbee and Darby targeted two businesses in the early hours of the morning before driving off with six charity boxes and a large amount of cigarettes in a stolen vehicle. Following some quick thinking, we were able to locate the vehicle to a street in Haverhill before our officers' intuition took over.

"Both men were arrested and the stolen charity boxes and cigarettes were discovered simply because they left a light on in a dark street. They have both since been sent to prison for breaking into businesses and stealing the generous donations of their customers."

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