Cigarette gang admit string of burglaries

A GANG of cigarette thieves have admitted breaking into, or attempting to break into, a total of 18 stores across Essex and Suffolk.

One of the four men, Martin Whaley, of Pegasus Way, Braintree, has pleaded guilty to 11 of the burglaries and an attempted burglary.

The 46-year-old also admitted conspiracy to commit burglary between October 1, 2009 and September 1 this year.

The three others, Duncan Rowland, 22, Peter Fabri, 32, and Andrew Last, 33, - all from south-east London - have each pleaded guilty to two burglaries.

The quartet entered their guilty pleas when they appeared before Ipswich Crown Court.

The gang targeted nine Co-op stores, a Solar Store, a petrol station and other small shops - including one in Claydon, which was broken-into twice in a month.

Among the premises which were burgled were Kelvedon Co-op on October 28, 2009, Abbott’s store in Colchester on December 28, 2009, and Brightlingsea BP Petrol Station, which was raided on February 1 this year.

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Another Co-op just outside Ipswich suffered break-in on April 3, while the One Stop Shop in Claydon was targeted on April 8 and May 5.

In between, the Claydon burglaries another Co-op in Sible Hedingham had cigarettes stolen on April 9.

Another of the organisation’s shops was raided in Rickinghall, near, Diss on May 12, while a Co-op in Mile End, Colchester was also burgled on May 27.

There was also an attempted burglary at Brantham Co-op on July 7, and another Co-op was broken-into in Old Barrack Road, Woodbridge, on the same day.

A second burglary occurred at Rickinghall Co-op on August 5, before Solar in Framlingham was raided on August 18.

Cigarettes were stolen from most of the burgled premises.

In addition to the burglaries 22-year-old Rowland has also pleaded guilty to dangerous driving and using a vehicle without insurance.

Whaley, Rowland, Fabri, and Last, are all currently remanded in custody.

The quartet are due to be sentenced at Ipswich Crown Court on Tuesday.