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Four men have been sent to prison for their part in a series of 23 burglaries in which around £160,000 worth of property was stolen across Hampshire, Sussex and Dorset.
A total of five men were charged with conspiracy to commit burglary, and pleaded guilty to a number of separate offences of burglary when they appeared before Southampton Crown Court on April 18th this year.
Those sentenced today (Friday May 10th) are:
Barry Kayley, 31, Webburn Gardens, West End, Southampton. He received a sentence of six years imprisonment;
Max Alexander, 22, of Nelson Road, Southampton received 16 months imprisonment;
Sam Cullen, 27, of Tatwin Crescent, Southampton, received 42 months imprisonment;
Darren Smith, 35, of Southampton Road, Ringwood, received 40 months imprisonment.
A fifth man, Robert Yeo, 30, of Hollybrook Road, Southampton, will be sentenced at a later date.
Investigated under the name of Operation Rhapsody, the case revolved around a major series of burglaries carried out on commercial premises, under the leadership of Kayley, who was described by the prosecution as the co-ordinator of an organised criminal group.
The offences took place between May 2012 and October 2012, and were spread across Hampshire, Dorset and Sussex but particularly Hampshire and east Dorset.
The target item in most of the burglaries was cigarettes, although other items of value were also taken such as perfume, electrical goods and clothing.
Many of the burglaries were linked by a number of similar characteristics. For example, entry was normally gained by smashing the lower glass to the main door and a large builders/rubble sack was used to place the stolen items into.
The investigation was led by the Hampshire Constabulary’s Major Investigation Team, working in close liaison with colleagues from Dorset Police and Sussex Police.
Detective Inspector Dave Storey, who led the investigation, said:
“This is a fantastic result, in which some persistent and organised criminals have been brought to justice and, more importantly, taken off the streets.
“This is a great example of cross-border working with other forces to deliver a strong message that the police will support businesses in tackling burglary –more important than ever in this difficult financial climate.
“Kayley is a career criminal who was the driving force behind this burglary series, and was very devious in the way he tried to avoid police detection. But we thwarted his efforts, and in sentencing him to six years today, the court has recognised the severity of his criminality.”
Detective Inspector Richard Dixey, from Dorset Police, said:
“This is an excellent example of the way in which different forces work together to target offenders who operate across force boundaries committing serious crimes.
“Through our combined efforts we have succeeded in bringing these offenders to justice and I hope that the significant sentences received by the defendants send a strong deterrent message to similar offenders.”