Simon Peter Loveland, aged 45, used sledge hammers and axes to smash into shops in Telford, Newport and Bromsgrove, swiping cash from the back office. Shrewsbury Crown Court heard how Loveland and his co-conspirators identified Aldi stores as “weak” targets.
They first pounced at the Wellington Road store in Donnington, Telford, on October 19 last year. They smashed a bespoke window at the front of the store worth up to £10,000 before breaking into the office and taking about. They stole around £1,500. Loveland was seen on CCTV, and DNA evidence from blood and a discarded glove also placed him at the scene.
Three days later, Loveland was part of a group that targeted an Aldi store in Sherwood Road in Bromsgrove, Worcestershire. That time they stole £2,090 in cash.
On November 20 they broke into Aldi in Audley Avenue, Newport, using axes to smash into the store’s office. They took £3,188.
Loveland, of Junction Street, Oldbury, pleaded guilty to three counts of burglary. The court heard he has 40 previous convictions for 121 offences, a history which Judge Peter Barrie described as “a terrible record of offending”. Debra White, mitigating, said Loveland’s daughter, who has Turner Syndrome, described him as “a good family man”, and said members of his family relied on him due to their medical conditions.
The court was told Loveland was using alcohol and drugs due to worrying about his daughter’s health because of her pregnancy.
Judge Barrie told Loveland: “You and your co-burglars clearly identified Aldi as a weak target for this sort of burglary. You went armed with a weapon, or certainly a tool, to break into the office area where cash was kept, in each case making off with a substantial amount of money and causing considerable damage. This was a deliberate and planned series of burglaries.”
He added: “There are serious non-dwelling burglaries on your record,” pointing to occasions in 2000 and 2004 when Loveland was jailed, and a further offence in 2011 for which he received a suspended sentence.
“This criminality is too serious for me to consider dealing with in any other way than immediate custody,” said Judge Barrie, jailing Loveland for three years.
Loveland is expected to serve half of his sentence behind bars before being released on licence.