Getaway driver jailed over £40,000 designer clothes raid
A man arrested at the wheel of a van containing up to £40,000 worth of stolen designer clothes has been jailed for 12 months.
Andrew Plant, 46, was part of a gang who snatched the goods from Pockets Outlets Warehouse in Hotspur Park, Battlefield, Shrewsbury, on April 16.
He was arrested on the M54 after the Mercedes van was stopped by police, Shrewsbury Crown Court heard.
Prosecuting barrister Mr Robert Edwards said: “This case fits squarely in the highest category regardless of the basis of plea.
“A witness was watching TV in a caravan at 11.20pm when they heard a loud bang and an alarm going off. When he went outside he saw approximately five men in tracksuits loading a van.
“He went to get his phone and ran back outside. He then saw a man, this defendant, leave in a van.
"Four others left in a second vehicle, a car. The vehicles set off together in the direction of the A5.
“The police were able to bring the van to a stop just before Junction 3 on the M54.
"The driver was this defendant who was wearing gloves and the sole occupant. He was arrested. The van had false plates and had been stolen in Birmingham on February 19.
“The warehouse belonged to high value designer clothing line Pockets. The owner Paul Platt estimated that the retail value of the stock was between £30,000 and £40,000. That property was recovered from the back of the van.”
Plant, of no fixed abode, pleaded guilty to burglary and driving whilst disqualified at a previous hearing.
The court heard that he admitted the crime on the basis that he was paid £200 for driving.
But he was unaware that he was involved in a burglary until it was under way.
Mitigating on his behalf, barrister Miss Lynette McClements said: “This was in my view an optimistic venture for the defendant. He was approached by others. CCTV seems to support what he has been saying.
“It is a category one offence, but everything has been recovered. The guidelines deal with the loss in cases where everything was recovered. He came late into the group enterprise.”
The judge, Mr Recorder Timothy Raggatt QC, told Plant that he accepted that he was brought into the burglary at the “last minute”, and said that “the crime was flawed”.
He was sentenced to 12 months imprisonment for burglary, reduced from 18 months with a discount of one third under the sentencing guidelines.
Plant, who has previous convictions, must serve half minus time already spent on remand since his arrest.
There was no separate penalty for the driving matter. A further charge of driving whilst unfit through drugs was withdrawn.
After he was sentenced Plant, who has no driving licence, told the judge: “That is very fair. Thank you.”
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