Burglar jailed after £43,000 raid

Gregory Smith
Gregory Smith

A burglar from Eastwood has been jailed after he stole more than £43,000 worth of goods - including rare models from the iconic Thunderbirds series.

Gregory Smith was in a gang of raiders who helped themselves to personal belongings at Storage King in Radford Road, Basfiord, on Friday, February 3.

Property was shifted out of units after a plate holding padlocks on doors was unscrewed.

The gang worked between 9pm and 11.30pm to move items to a van which was believed to have been driven to Bilborough to offload.

Nottingham Crown Court heard one unit had models from the Thunderbirds era inside, including a five-foot orange rocket, estimated to be worth £8,000.

“The loser described them as ‘very rare’, and was confident they would bring large sums of money if auctioned,” said prosecutor David Webster.

Smith, 24, of Princes Street, pleaded guilty to five burglaries at the premises - but his accomplices remain at large.

Judge Timothy Spencer QC sentenced him to two years and eight months concurrently on each charge.

He heard Smith signed up as a customer to Storage King a month earlier for two months, in a ‘buy one, get one free’ deal, and was given an access code.

He later asked for 24-hour access because he said he needed to retrieve fishing tackle in the early hours.

When the raiders struck, Smith’s access code was the one used.

The judge told him in the dock he was “fronting this up” and “taking the rap for others”.

“You were not the mastermind. You wouldn’t have been so visible if you were,” he added.

And he stressed this is “serious, serious crime” which was planned.

“It needed someone effectively to be a stooge, which was you, to rent a storage unit. I suspect it was all planned before you signed up to this and someone knew there were valuable items in there and rich pickings.

“It needed tools to remove the fitting that allowed the padlock to be taken away and replaced”.

He said one user of a storage unit saved up money and property hoping to ship it to Angola in a container - but some of the items were stolen.

Valuable stereo equipment was also taken, a motorcycle and quad bike, and Space: 1999 memorabilia from the two-season 1970s science fiction series.

Mitigating, Chris Brewin said debts started to mount for his client when he was out of work.

“There is a background of intimidation. He is told what to do and where to go”.